With the return of Major League Baseball, MLB Network is giving fans more of its morning show to enjoy. As reported by The Big Lead’s Kyle Koster, MLB Central will add an hour to its daily runtime, starting at 9 a.m. each weekday beginning on April 7, the 2022 season’s Opening Day.
Since its 2015 debut, MLB Central has been a three-hour program led by Robert Flores, Lauren Shehadi, and Mark DeRosa, airing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. The show features plenty of analysts, correspondents, players, managers, and figures throughout Major League Baseball and baseball media, in addition to feature segments.
As Koster notes, expanding MLB Central is part of MLB Network’s effort to increase live programming throughout the day. With the additional hour, MLB Network will air live shows for a 17-hour span each day during the regular season. Other programs in that live block of programming include High Heat, MLB Now, Intentional Talk, and MLB Tonight.
Adding an hour to MLB Central also should give MLB Network an opportunity to reach fans in the early-morning block that’s become increasingly popular with sports TV viewers.
Shows like NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, ESPN’s Get Up, FS1’s First Things First, Peacock’s Pro Football Talk Live, and simulcast radio programming such as Keyshawn, JWill, and Max on ESPN2 and CBS Sports Network’s telecast of Boomer & Gio have shown the appetite for live sports talk (with some irreverence) in the early morning, something that MLB Network has missed out on with re-airings of Quick Pitch and MLB Tonight.
MLB Central has been on in mid-mornings, up against the likes of ESPN’s First Take and FS1’s Undisputed, but this gives MLB Network a chance to not only react to the previous night’s action but set the conversation for the day to come as fans get into their workday.
Additionally, there’s some catching up to do. Fans who may have turned away from baseball, fed up with the labor dispute between team owners and players, now need to catch up on what their teams did before the lockout and the frenzy of offseason moves since that was resolved. More MLB Central provides more information for fans to consume before April 7.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”
David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”
Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.
“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”
December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.
NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal
“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”
The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.
Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.
NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.
“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”
In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.
As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.
NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’
“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”
A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.
“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”
The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.
The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.