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ESPN Owes Upwards of 20 Million For Ratings Shortfalls

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Despite the efforts of the College Football Playoff committee and some media outlets downplaying the financial hit ESPN took by being forced to televise the two national championship semi-final games on New Year’s Eve, media buyers say the network owes upwards of $20 million in ad makegoods for ratings shortfalls for the two games.

ESPN may have gotten a bit greedy when setting its ratings estimates and offering higher guarantee levels to advertisers for the two games, knowing audiences might not flock to their TV sets, despite the optimism of the CFP committee. However, advertisers are concerned about next season’s potential audience levels for the games, which will also be televised on New Year’s Eve. Even if the ratings guarantees by ESPN are set lower, advertisers would prefer the games be moved to New Year’s Day or even on consecutive primetime nights, exclusive of New Year’s Eve, when more people would likely watch.

But CFP committee officials are on record as adamantly supporting the continued airing of the playoff series games on New Year’s Eve as scheduled, which will occur in seven of the remaining 10 years of the 12-year original deal. And that position has been taken even after the 36% combined ratings decline for the two games was disclosed.

So ESPN is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, it has to keep its mouth shut and parrot the CFP’s belief that ratings will get better in subsequent New Year’s Eve telecasts, even though privately they believe that to be nonsense. It can’t been seen criticizing its long-term partner publicly. On the other hand, ESPN has to hear the wrath of its advertisers who saw their ad dollars spent on the severe under-delivery of the guaranteed audience for the two games.

Some media outlets have pointed out that since ESPN sells packages for all the bowl games and a sizable number of advertisers are in all of the games, that the New Year’s Eve ratings shortfalls were considerably mitigated.

One buyer called that analysis “a bunch of spin,” adding that College Football Playoff Committee executive director Bill Hancock’s statement that the New Year’s Eve games’ ratings declines were simply “modest” was “just plain wrong.”

Try selling the “modest” ratings declines to the movie studios that were in those New Year’s Eve games who paid big bucks to reach an audience they wanted to reach immediately that turned out to be more than one-third less than the size that they paid for.

Sure they can get makegoods down the road, but some marketers needed those eyeballs sooner, not later.

ESPN is trying to make things right with its advertisers, although its sales executives will not discuss the situation publicly beyond a general statement issued by a network spokesperson.

“As is standard practice with any sponsored television event, inventory is managed and contingencies are put in place to protect advertisers,” the ESPN statement reads. “The specifics of those deals vary and we work with our advertisers to make them whole in the event of a shortfall.”

 

Media buyers are sympathetic to ESPN’s situation and are also appalled and angry at the attitude of the NCAA and the College Football Playoff committee and the public comments being made by their executives.

The CFP’s Hancock told The New York Times this week, “We don’t make decisions based on television numbers. I don’t have a TV number that influences my measurable for success.”

Talk about a slap in the face to his media partner ESPN which is now some $20 million in the hole because of Hancock’s arrogance, after the network paid the CFP $600 million for the TV rights of the bowl games, including the two New Year’s Eve semi-finals.

 

To read the rest of this article visit Broadcasting Cable who originally published this article

Sports TV News

NBC Retains Premier League Rights Through 2028

“NBC keeps full distribution control of all 380 matches, and that includes Spanish-language broadcasting.”

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Courtesy: NBC, Premier League

The bids are in, and after all of the fuss, NBC Sports is retaining the Premier League. According to The Athletic, the deal is worth “well over” $2 billion and keeps NBC Sports as the league’s U.S. affiliate until 2028.

“We are delighted to announce our new US broadcast deal with NBC Sports,” Richard Masters, the Premier League Chief Executive, told The Athletic. “Who have been brilliant partners for the Premier League over the last nine seasons. NBC Sports has significantly strengthened the popularity of the League in the United States in that time through its fantastic coverage and promotion.”

NBC Sports keeps full distribution control of all 380 matches, and that includes Spanish-language broadcasting. The Premier League clearly values its relationship with the network that the two sides established in their initial deal back in 2013.

“NBC Sports’ Premier League Mornings programming is now a real institution among supporters in America,” Masters added. “With fans getting up early to come together and cheer on their favourite club, week in, week out. It’s an exciting time for football in the US and we look forward to continuing to work with NBC Sports to bring our competition to even more fans over the next six years.”

The bidding on this deal was hot and heavy. ESPN, CBS, and NBC Sports all went after the property. The popularity helped drive up the projected $1.5 billion price tag to over $2 billion.

“We are excited to come to this long-term extension with the Premier League,” Pete Bevacqua, NBC Sports Chairman, said. “Our Premier League team, led by Jon Miller, has been incredibly dedicated to growing the Premier League in the United States over the last nine years. This new agreement is also a testament to the hard work of production, marketing, and other areas of our company, as well as the tremendous partnership that has been established with the leadership and club owners of the Premier League.”

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Sports TV News

Dianna Russini Returns To Get Up

“The ‘Get Up’ producers made sure to have pictures of Russini’s little guy ready to roll.”

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Dianna Russini made her return to Get Up this morning, and the crew welcomed her back with open arms.

Russini and her husband had their first child earlier this year, and she has been on the sidelines for maternity leave during the first ten weeks of the NFL season. The producers made sure to have pictures of her little guy ready to roll.

“Look who is back! Dianna Russini!” Host Ryan Smith said to introduce the NFL reporter.

“I’m back!” Russini responded. “I’m back, I had a baby! I had a baby, and I’m back. Yeah, that’s little Michael. It’s been awesome. The three of us got to stay home with him. Watch you guys every morning, so he’s a big fan of the show. He sleeps the entire time.”

It’s been a whirlwind few months for Russini as she became a new mom and signed a fresh deal to continue with ESPN for the foreseeable future. Last month, the reporter covered what the journey of pregnancy and being a new mother has been like in her return announcement blog post.

“It was December, and I was in the thick of it at work,” Russini wrote. “I spent my time traveling, writing, texting, hosting a digital show, reporting on live television almost daily — all while worrying if I would miscarry. Nobody told me it’s a fear that never leaves your brain for almost every second you are pregnant. How could I not worry? On my medical chart at my OBGYN, next to my name and weight, it says ‘geriatric.’ I’m not kidding.”

Russini later said that the only person who knew she was pregnant at that point was her photographer, Jimmy. Now, the NFL reporter can’t hide her excitement to keep covering the league, and it showed through on Thursday’s Get Up.

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Sports TV News

Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka To Take Fan Questions On Bleacher Report

This press conference certainly has potential to be very interesting for a number of reasons.

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With the fifth edition of The Match set to take place next Friday, Bleacher Report will be hosting a press conference ahead of the event on the same day.

Bleacher Report announced today that they’ll provide a streaming pre-event show on their app, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. A Pre-event show is not unusual for the event, as they did one in July for the last edition of The Match.

This time is set to be a little different, as this will be a press conference with questions from fans and special guests to ask both Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka whatever they’d like.

Here is some information about the format of the press conference from a press release coming from Bleacher Report:

In the days leading up to the event, B/R will prompt fans across its social channels to submit questions for the chance to have them read live during the press conference. Real-time questions submitted in the B/R app will also be raised during the livestream to take advantage of unexpected moments and answers. Fans whose questions are chosen will win exclusive custom hoodies and the chance for cash prizes.

This press conference certainly has the potential to be very interesting for a number of reasons. First, it is clear that these two golfers really don’t like each other, it doesn’t seem forced to me at all. Secondly is with the fans’ interaction with asking questions, it could be very funny and has the potential to go off the rails.

Fans have been notorious in trolling both Bryson and Brooks during tournaments, so an actual press conference where they are in a setting to answer questions could be pure comedy.

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