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MSG Network Eyes NBA, NHL Second Half For Streaming Service Launch

“While the media landscape is certainly evolving, we continue to believe in the value of our premium content and our ability to innovate, to drive value for partners, advertisers and viewers alike.”

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MSG Network is planning to launch a paid streaming service to bring New York Knicks and Rangers games direct to consumers.

According to a report from Josh Kosman of The New York Post, the service will likely come with a $20-$25 a month price tag and is expected to be launched in the second half of the current NBA and NHL seasons.

“While the media landscape is certainly evolving, we continue to believe in the value of our premium content and our ability to innovate, to drive value for partners, advertisers and viewers alike,” MSG Network President and CEO Andrea Greenberg said.

The move to a streaming service is seen as a needed one for the network, as its subscriber base has dropped 9% since 2021. That number is on top of the 10% loss it experienced when Comcast dropped the network.

The news comes in the heels of reports that owner James Dolan is planning on splitting his MSG Entertainment company in two, with the cable network, new streaming service, and venues like Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall into one company, and his entertainment venues like upcoming Las Vegas Sphere and nightclub chain Tao into a separate entity.

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NASCAR Xfinity Series Moves to CW Earlier Than Planned

“We can’t wait to give racing fans an early preview of all the exciting action the NASCAR Xfinity Series has to offer on The CW and we look forward to establishing the network as a new destination for live motorsports.”

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Graphic for the NASCAR XFinity broadcasts on the CW Network

NASCAR and the CW Network have announced the network will be the exclusive broadcast home for the final eight races of the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series this fall. Originally, the CW Network was not supposed to start airing the races until 2025.

Live coverage will now begin on Friday, September 20 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The series continues through the fall with the final seven Xfinity Playoff races of the season, culminating in the Xfinity Series Championship from Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, November 9.

All of the races will be produced by NBC Sports, with Rick Allen serving as lead race announcer alongside analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte, and NBC Sports’ Vice President of Motorsports Jeff Behnke overseeing production.

“As The CW prepares to be the new broadcast home of the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2025, we want to thank our partners at the league and at NBC Sports for welcoming the network into the NASCAR broadcast family and for the early opportunity to showcase these thrilling final eight Xfinity Series races of the season,” said Dennis Miller, President, The CW Network. “We can’t wait to give racing fans an early preview of all the exciting action the NASCAR Xfinity Series has to offer on The CW and we look forward to establishing the network as a new destination for live motorsports.”

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Report: MLB Nearing Deal with Unknown Platform to Resume Sunday Morning Game Broadcasts

“Our initiative with Peacock was a valuable experience with a collaborative partner in our ongoing effort to explore a variety of streaming offerings for our fans as their consumption habits continue to evolve.”

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Major League Baseball
Courtesy: Major League Baseball

Ahead of the Major League Baseball season, the league and Comcast had yet to reach a deal regarding Sunday morning baseball games. Peacock, the OTT streaming platform for the company, broadcast these games for the last two seasons, which equated to 19 such contests last year. Andrew Marchand of The Athletic reports that there is interest from Comcast and NBC in a deal to resume airing these games but for less than $30 million per year, the rate it had paid over the last two years. MLB is reportedly nearing an agreement with another platform to broadcast the Sunday morning baseball games.

“Our initiative with Peacock was a valuable experience with a collaborative partner in our ongoing effort to explore a variety of streaming offerings for our fans as their consumption habits continue to evolve,” a Major League Baseball spokesperson said in a statement to The Athletic.

The Sunday morning MLB games on Peacock started either at 11:35 a.m. or 12:05 p.m. EST and included a play-by-play announcer and an analyst who had familiarity with the teams playing in the game. Other MLB games taking place on Sundays were prohibited to begin earlier than 1:30 p.m. EST, granting the platform a window. Two weekly Friday night MLB games during the regular season are exclusively broadcast on Apple TV+ as part of a seven-year contract between the two entities worth a reported $85 million per season.

Peacock recently served as the exclusive home of an NFL Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. The coldest game on record from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium drew an average minute audience of 23 million viewers, rendering it the most-streamed event in U.S. history. Moreover, the playoff game was attributed to 30% of worldwide internet usage for the day. The platform reportedly paid $110 million for the rights to the game, part of a weekend featuring three NFL Wild Card contests.

Amazon Prime Video is reportedly set to exclusively stream an NFL Wild Card game next year, continuing to expand its portfolio of games that includes Thursday Night Football and an exclusive Black Friday Football game.

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ESPN Reveals Broadcast Plans for 2024 WNBA Draft

“WNBA Countdown will air live from the WNBA Draft for the first time and commence the proceedings at 7 p.m. EST.”

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WNBA Draft '24
Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will be the broadcast home of the 2024 WNBA Draft from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking place on Monday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Ryan Ruocco will be the host for on-site coverage and will be joined by analysts Rebecca Lobo and Andraya Carter and reporter Holly Rowe. Lobo and Carter will provide their insights and analysis on the draft picks throughout the night, while Rowe will interview the draftees once they are officially selected.

Preceding this coverage is a special edition of SportsCenter that will be hosted by Elle Duncan live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Duncan will welcome Andraya Carter and Chiney Ogwumike on the 6 p.m. EST version of the show to discuss the WNBA Draft leading up to ESPN coverage of the event.

Once SportsCenter concludes, WNBA Countdown will air live from the WNBA Draft for the first time and commence the proceedings at 7 p.m. EST. LaChina Robinson will host the show with analysts Chiney Ogwumike and Carolyn Peck where they will preview the action. ESPN will look back at the college basketball season for Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, who became the NCAA Division I basketball all-time scoring leader earlier in the year. The show will also highlight some of the best outfits on the night as they arrive on the “Orange Carpet” and interview draftees as well.

ESPN will provide WNBA Draft coverage through the conclusion of the third round, which will include cameras situated in draft rooms for several teams around the league. These organizations, all of whom will be making a first-round selection, are the Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings and Washington Mystics. Ruocco, Lobo, Carter and Rowe will also guide viewers regarding storylines for the WNBA season, which will be broadcast across Disney and ESPN platforms as announced on Wednesday.

Aside from its network coverage, ESPN.com will provide content related to the WNBA Draft including ranking draft classes, forecasting Caitlin Clark’s WNBA rookie season and feature articles surrounding the consensus No. 1 pick from Ramona Shelburne and Kevin Pelton. ESPN staff writer Alexa Philippou will anchor live coverage on draft day that will provide the latest information on trades, draft picks and news. Moreover, WNBA DraftCast will provide information and analysis surrounding draft picks, along with prospect grades and rankings. ESPN staff writer Michael Voepel will issue report-card grades to the draft classes for each team at the conclusion of the event as well.

ESPN Social will execute an all-access takeover featuring the projected top draft picks on the Instagram story for SportsCenter. There will also be live content from New York City including moments on the “Orange Carpet,” on-site content and selection updates with custom images on Instagram and TikTok.

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