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Peacock’s MLB Package to Include Sunday Morning, Early Afternoon Games

To avoid conflict with most Sunday MLB games played at 1 p.m. ET, some of the 18 broadcasts scheduled for Peacock could start as early as 11:30 a.m. ET or just before noon.

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Is Sunday Morning Baseball something that would interest you? MLB and Peacock are hoping the answer is yes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, part of NBC’s new rights deal with MLB will involve broadcasting Sunday games on its streaming service. And to avoid conflict with most games played at 1 p.m. ET throughout the league, some of the 18 broadcasts scheduled for Peacock could start as early as 11:30 a.m. ET or just before noon.

The Peacock Sunday broadcasts will be exclusive to the streaming service and not available on MLB teams’ respective regional sports networks (and thus, not MLB.TV either). NBC is also expected to stream Monday and Wednesday telecasts (previously shown on ESPN) during its two-year deal. Previously, those telecasts were not exclusive but simulcasts from RSNs and blacked out in local markets.

MLB and NBC Sports have yet to officially announce their new deal, but it’s expected to be finalized this week now that baseball and the players union have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. The 2022 MLB season is now scheduled to begin on April 7.

The NBC Sports/Peacock rights deal is one of two streaming packages MLB has lined up for the 2022 season and beyond. Apple has also agreed to a deal to stream baseball games in an exclusive Friday night package including two games each week. Those broadcasts will be exclusive to Apple TV+.

With these two new deals, baseball fans will now likely be looking for their team’s games or standout matchups on a variety of outlets. Two of those platforms will be entirely new to fans for watching baseball, and they’ll have to sign up for subscriptions to do so.

The majority of a team’s games will be available on its RSN. But in a given week, broadcasts could be on Peacock (and occasionally NBC), Turner (which will now air games Tuesday nights as part of its new rights deal), Apple, ESPN (Sunday Night Baseball), MLB Network, and Fox (or FS1, on Saturdays). That could be quite a whiparound on a particular week.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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