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NFL Flexing Its Muscles Over Thursday Night Football Talks

Jason Barrett

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The National Football League is flexing its muscles in negotiations with TV networks over the renewal of Thursday night telecasts, not only seeking a sizable rights fees increase but also pushing multiple broadcasters to split the package and agree to potentially onerous scheduling conditions.

Unlike the previous two seasons when CBS has shared a package of Thursday games with the league-owned NFL Network, the league now wants to divide the contests between two broadcast networks as well as the NFL Network, which has several games to itself in addition to carrying all the games that air on broadcast.

CBS and NBC are in the lead to reach an agreement with the NFL to share the Thursday night package of games, people familiar with the matter said.

Under the scenario being discussed, CBS and NBC would each carry five Thursday games this fall. The games would be simulcast on the league-owned NFL Network, which would carry the remaining Thursday night matchups exclusively. The price tag for the 10 games may be as much as $600 million, said a person familiar with the matter. This past fall, CBS paid $300 million for the rights to eight games.

By dividing the package between two broadcast networks, the NFL is betting that the demand for its product is so great that it can sell two smaller sets of games and make more money. Based on the current talks, that wager may pay off. It is just the latest example of how networks are willing to pay more and more for sports rights that command big live audiences, even as they contend with pressure on revenue in the coming years from cord-cutting.

To read the rest of this article visit the Wall Street Journal where it was originally published

 

 

Sports TV News

ESPN Unveils New NBA Graphics Package, Theme Song

The network unveiled a new scorebug, with colors for each team corresponding to what uniform they are wearing.

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As ESPN prepares for the upcoming NBA season, the network unveiled a new graphics package and theme song Tuesday.

The network unveiled a new scorebug, with colors for each team corresponding to what uniform they are wearing.

“Leading creative initiatives like this one are exactly what we envisioned when we created ESPN’s groundbreaking in-house Creative Studio almost two years ago,” said Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu, Vice President, ESPN Creative Studio. “We take sports from game to experience. It takes a dynamic collective of creative capabilities and storytellers to make fans feel like they are part of the game.”

“Like everything involving the NBA on ESPN, this has been a total team effort,” said Tim Corrigan, Vice President, Production. “We were thrilled to collaborate with our ESPN Creative Studio group to bring this new look and feel to life. It’s big, bold and contemporary and we can’t wait for fans to see it.”

The network has also unveiled new theme music for the upcoming season.

ESPN partnered with Made Music Studios for “the next evolution” of the NBA on ESPN’s sound.  The network says “Made Music created a hip hop-based concept with the power and energy synonymous with ESPN’s NBA Productions”.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Accused Of Data Sharing Without Consent In Class Action Lawsuit

The proposed suit alleges these are violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act.

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According to a potential class action lawsuit, user data from ESPN.com and ESPN+ has been allegedly shared with Meta Platforms without users consent.

Corrado Rizzi of ClassAction.org has proposed the suit, alleging that ESPN “uses a pixel installed on the back end of its website to track when website and app users take certain actions, such as clicking on an ad or viewing video content”. That “pixel” is used by Facebook to capture “a subscriber’s Facebook ID, with which anyone can ‘quickly and easily’ locate, access, and identify a particular Facebook account and a file containing details of a watched video and its corresponding URL.”

Rizzi adds that ESPN.com and ESPN+ subscribers aren’t told their data could be shared. He also shares that while ESPN could create its website to information isn’t immediately shared with Facebook, it benefits financially from utilizing the “pixel” on its website.

The proposed suit alleges these are violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The VPAA, according to ClassAction.org, “prohibits ‘video tape service providers’ from knowingly disclosing without consent consumers’ personally identifiable information, including that which identifies someone as having requested or obtained specific video materials”.

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Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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