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Blue Jackets Gain on TV, Lose at The Gate

Jason Barrett

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Columbus Blue Jackets fans apparently haven’t wanted to leave their couches amid the team’s woeful start.

Television ratings on Fox Sports Ohio climbed in October from a year earlier, but smaller crowds turned out at Nationwide Arena during the first five home games.

From opening night through Oct. 31, a 23-day stretch in which the Jackets posted a 2-10 record, an average 10,500 households tuned in to watch games on Fox Sports Ohio, according to Nielsen ratings.

The 1.16 household rating over that span was up 54 percent from the first 12 games of the prior season, an increase that the regional sports network attributes to several factors outweighing the team’s poor performance.

“Generally, yes, ratings tend to correlate with team performance,” General Manager François McGillicuddy said in an email. “However, the increase we’ve seen in Blue Jackets ratings are a result of several things – the Jackets’ strong finish last season, the anticipation coming into this season, the great matchups early in the season, and the dedicated fans that remain engaged, passionate and committed to this team.”

The Blue Jackets’ woeful play led to the firing of head coach Todd Richards, and though the team has improved under the leadership of John Tortorella, it remains in last place with a 3-10 record.

Despite the upswing in TV viewers, attendance at Nationwide Arena through five home games hasn’t kept pace.

The Blue Jackets ranked 25th of 30 NHL teams with 14,774 fans per game, down 5 percent from last year’s full-season average 15,511 in 41 home contests, according to ESPN.com.

President Mike Priest said last year that an average of 16,000 fans – of an 18,500 capacity – is one ingredient needed to make the team profitable.

Credit to the Columbus Business Journal who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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