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Dallas Stars Reveal VICTORY+ Sports Network

“Our first priority has always been our fan base, and on VICTORY+ fans will be able to stream 100 percent of Stars content for free through this innovative and unique streaming platform for sports programming.”

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VICTORY+
(Illustration) | VICTORY+ Logo – Courtesy: Dallas Stars; A Parent Media Co. Inc.

The Dallas Stars have entered into a seven-year agreement with A Parent Media Co. Inc. (APMC) enabling all regional telecasts of the team games to be streamed for free beginning in the 2024-25 season. Live game broadcasts will be available to watch on VICTORY+, a new direct-to-consumer service created by both the Stars and APMC. The free ad-supported streaming service will be available for download on smart TVs, tablets and smartphones beginning in September 2024, ensuring fans within the team’s regional territory will be able to watch the games. Fans who are located outside of this area, which consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas, will be able to utilize VICTORY+ and watch ancillary content from the team.

“After years of researching the right solution and careful planning with our partners at APMC, we’re proud to announce this pioneering streaming platform that will literally change the game for sports distribution on VICTORY+,” Brad Alberts, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Stars, said in a statement. “Our first priority has always been our fan base, and on VICTORY+ fans will be able to stream 100 percent of Stars content for free through this innovative and unique streaming platform for sports programming.”

Jason Walsh, former FOX Sports executive producer and Dallas Stars vice president of broadcasting, will be working for APMC to lead VICTORY+ and deliver stellar broadcast quality. The Stars are the first client of VICTORY+, which will look to implement additional sports teams in the future with advertising as its primary driver of revenue. The service will utilize APMC’s ad-tech solution Safe Exchange to facilitate direct and programmatic advertising on the service to grant clientele access to the full audience.

“With more than a decade of safe streaming and monetization experience, we are excited to expand beyond Kidoodle.TV and Dude Perfect into sports,” Neil Gruninger, president and chief executive officer of APMC, said in a statement. “This presents a remarkable opportunity to collaborate with the Dallas Stars, an organization that is prioritizing their fans. Leveraging our digital expertise, we aim to create a cutting-edge platform that unites fans, teams, athletes, content providers, advertisers and brands in a unique streaming service that celebrates them all collectively.”

The news comes just days after Diamond Sports Group and the Dallas Stars mutually agreed to terminate their television broadcasting contract as the regional sports network owner continues to dwindle its portfolio. Stars games were previously available to watch on Bally Sports Southwest and available to stream utilizing the Bally Sports+ app in addition to other teams in the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association. With this move, Diamond Sports Group currently has the rights to nine NHL teams after it had previously carried 12 clubs before entering into Ch. 11 bankruptcy.

“Rejection of the Stars Agreement is well within the Debtors’ business judgment and is in the best interest of their estates,” Diamond Sports Group said in a court filing issued last Wednesday. “As a result of the Debtors’ ongoing analysis of its team rights portfolio, the Debtors have determined that the costs associated with performing under the Stars Agreement for its remaining term, including payment of substantial rights fees, outweigh the revenues the Debtors are able to obtain through broadcasting Stars games.”

Earlier in the month, the defending Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers moved television rights from Diamond Sports Group’s Bally Sports Florida to Scripps Sports, now broadcasting games on over-the-air networks. Diamond has a confirmation hearing later in the month that is expected to determine the fate of the company after being in Ch. 11 bankruptcy for over a year. The company received a $115 million investment from Amazon that would involve it taking a minority stake in Diamond should its restructuring agreement receive court approval.

Bally Sports Southwest is 90% owned by Diamond Sports Group and 10% owned by the Texas Rangers, which entered into an extension with Diamond through the 2024 season. Mark Cuban, former owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said last November that the team would look at all its options upon the expiration of its deal with Bally Sports Southwest that reportedly lasts through the end of the decade. Bally Sports networks are no longer carried by Comcast or Altice USA after the entities were unable to come to terms on new carriage agreements. Networks owned by Diamond currently reach 84% of U.S. pay TV subscribers, according to court filings from the company.

“Despite the mutual agreement between the Dallas Stars and Diamond Sports Group to end our current relationship pending court approval, we would like to acknowledge that we wouldn’t be here today without the partnership and commitment of Bally Sports and their staff over the past 25 years and thank them for their partnership,” Alberts said in a statement.

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Alex Cohen, Voice of the Iowa Cubs, to Make Major League PBP Debut This Weekend

“Thrilled to be on the call for a pair of Cubs games starting this weekend!”

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Logo of the Chicago Cubs and a photo of Alex Cohen
Photo Courtesy: Alex Cohen on LinkedIn

Alex Cohen, who has been the voice of the Iowa Cubs for the last seven seasons, is getting called up to the big leagues. For the first time ever, Cohen will call Major League Baseball when he fills in for Jon Sciambi on Marquee Sports Network this Sunday. He has also been told he will have a second game on July 19.

“Thrilled to be on the call for a pair of Cubs games starting this weekend!” Cohen posted on his X account. “So appreciative of Marquee Sports Network and the Iowa Cubs for the opportunity. Will wax poetically about it all later, but until then…Thank you all and can’t wait for Sunday in St. Louis and Friday at Wrigley!”

Cohen was named Ballpark Digest’s 2023 Broadcaster of the Year award. He calls all 150 home and road games for the Cubs Triple-A affiliate on AM 940 in Des Moines and does select games on TV as well. Cohen has previously done some Cubs Spring Training games on Marquee as well as 670 The Score.

Cohen also does work for Iowa State and handles many of their broadcasts on ESPN+. In addition to working with Marquee he has also done work for the Big Ten Network.

Cohen is a 2011 graduate of Indiana University who served as the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Rookie Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. He then headed to manage broadcasting and media relations for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

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FOX Sports Sets NFL Announcing Teams for 2024

Tom Brady will make his regular season debut with Burkhardt when FOX Sports airs the Dallas Cowboys-Cleveland Browns game on September 8 at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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During this NFL offseason, most of the broadcaster talk has been centered around the arrival of Tom Brady as part of the No. 1 team on FOX Sports with Kevin Burkhardt. Recently it was revealed that Greg Olsen, who had been working with Burkhardt, would be paired with Joe Davis for the upcoming season. Now, based on a report from Andrew Marchand, we know who the rest of the teams will be.

Davis had been working with Daryl Johnston, however ‘Moose’ is now going to be paired with Kevin Kugler. Kugler had previously worked with former NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez, but Sanchez will now be the analyst for Adam Amin.

That means Mark Schlereth will have a new partner as he had been working with Amin. Schlereth will now work with veteran play-by-play announcer Chris Myers. The only team that will stay intact from last season is the pairing of longtime FOX Sports NFL announcer Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma.

Tom Brady will make his regular season debut with Burkhardt when FOX Sports airs the Dallas Cowboys-Cleveland Browns game on September 8 at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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NBC Sports Announces Open Championship Coverage Plans

Luke Donald, former World No. 1 and current captain for the European Ryder Cup team, joins Dan Hicks as an analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Open Championship.

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Photo of Royal Troon Golf Course and logos for NBC and GOLF

From July 18-21, the 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland will receive extensive live coverage from NBC Sports, Peacock, and USA Network.

Throughout the course of the tournament, NBC Sports will offer over 50 hours of live coverage from Thursday to Sunday, with a total of more than 200 hours from Royal Troon including featured groups, featured holes, and Golf Central Live from The Open studio coverage.

Luke Donald, former World No. 1 and current captain for the European Ryder Cup team, joins Dan Hicks as an analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Open Championship. This will be his second time serving as an analyst with NBC Sports, after previously debuting at the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches and the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year.

The upcoming tournament will be Mike Tirico’s 26th time broadcasting the Open Championship, and his fourth time at Royal Troon. He first broadcasted the event at this location back in 1997 when Justin Leonard was crowned champion.

The play-by-play pairings for the tournament in addition to Hicks and Donald will be Tirico with Brad Faxon, Terry Gannon and Paul McGinley along with Steve Sands and Notah Begay III.

John Wood, Smylie Kaufman, Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay and Curt Byrum will serve as on-course reporters and Cara Banks will handle player interviews.

NBC Sports will enhance their extensive coverage of the Open Championship with live broadcasts of selected groups on Peacock, featuring two morning and two afternoon groups each day. Peacock will also provide a dedicated feed for the iconic par-3 ‘Postage Stamp’ 8th hole throughout the tournament.

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