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AT&T Reportedly Looking to Grab Cubs Rights

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John Ourand from Sports Business Daily wrote a piece today about the new AT&T, now that the company has successfully acquired Time Warner’s media assets. With the addition of the Turner Networks, AT&T now how rights to Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NCAA Tournament. Ourand writes that AT&T’s sports footprint is expected to keep growing.

But some believe that AT&T’s deep pockets will make the new company even more of a player in rights negotiations. The size of the new AT&T would give it an advantage over traditional media companies. Imagine a company that could pick up rights covering linear TV, digital, over-the-top, mobile and pay-per-view all in one bid.

“I’d expect them to be more competitive than Time Warner was in pursuing the NFL in prime time and, maybe, a college football package,” said Michael Nathanson, a senior research analyst for MoffettNathanson.

Where might that start? Well, it is no secret that Turner wanted in on the NFL in the last round of rights negotiations, so that is almost certainly something that AT&T still has its eyes on, especially considering that with DirecTV in the fold, the company already owns NFL Sunday Ticket.

But forget the gridiron for a moment. The Chicago Cubs don’t have a media deal in place after 2019. Ourand says he expects AT&T may become involved in those negotiations sooner rather than later.

Another area of sporting interest is in Chicago where NBC Sports’ RSN has been trying to sign the Cubs to a rights deal. The Cubs’ current deal with NBC Sports Chicago ends after the 2019 season, and the two sides have been talking for months about an extension.

Now that AT&T’s Time Warner purchase is official, I would expect the Cubs to reach out to the new company, if it hasn’t already. After all, AT&T already is in the RSN business with three channels: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain and AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

It’s way too early to handicap where the Cubs’ rights will go. But it seems obvious that the team — at a minimum — will look to use AT&T as leverage in its NBC Sports negotiations.

One assumes that if AT&T does get the Cubs’ broadcast rights, an AT&T SportsNet Chicago would be on the horizon.

Sports TV News

12.6 Million Tune in to Rams-49ers Monday Night Football Matchup

Additionally, the ManningCast featuring Peyton and Eli Manning saw its biggest audience this season.

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday Night Football

ESPN continues to generate massive audiences for its Monday Night Football telecasts.

The network reported that 12.6 million tuned in across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes to watch the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams.

Additionally, the ManningCast featuring Peyton and Eli Manning saw its biggest audience this season. ESPN says 1.63 million caught the alternate feed.

That number ranked Monday’s broadcast tied for fourth among 12 previous editions.

Next week’s Monday night game features the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Sports TV News

NBC: Big Ten Media Rights Is Biggest New Property Deal Since NFL

“I can’t think of a bigger deal in the 16 years I’ve been here than the Big Ten. It’s very rare to see these properties change hands.”

Jordan Bondurant

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NBC Sports can’t be more excited to be a part of the new Big Ten media rights deal going into effect in 2023.

As part of their share of the $1 billion per year agreement, NBC will shell out $350 million each season to the conference for rights to 14-16 football games over the next seven years.

On a recent edition of SportsProMedia’s StreamTime Podcast, Peacock chief commercial officer Rick Cordella said this was the biggest acquisition for NBC since the network became the home to Sunday Night Football in the NFL in 2006.

“I joined NBC just after the NFL deal and [since then] we’ve re-engaged with NASCAR in 2013 and have signed some pretty important renewals along the way,” he said. “But in terms of a new property, I can’t think of a bigger deal in the 16 years I’ve been here than the Big Ten. It’s very rare to see these properties change hands.”

Cordella added that while NBC’s relationship with Notre Dame is historic and something to hang their hat on, it’s the longevity of the future of the Big Ten as a conference and pseudo-mega conference that makes being in on the new deal so monumental.

“We have a long relationship with Notre Dame that’s pretty unique and something we’re proud of, but to have Big Ten football every week in the fall…that conference is going to be a dominant force in college athletics, and we don’t have to worry about teams being poached and leaving (the conference),” he said.

The fact that Peacock will also be streaming football and men’s and women’s basketball games is another perk.

“It was the right spot to focus our investment and we’re excited to have content across both NBC and Peacock,” Cordella said. “That was an important factor.”

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Sports TV News

SEC on CBS Draws College Football’s Most-Watched Game for Third Straight Week

Alabama-Arkansas drew an average of 5.828 million viewers, making it the most-watched Alabama-Arkansas game in 12 years.

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Alabama-Arkansas
AP Photo/Michael Woods

CBS is reaping the benefits of its package with the SEC. That’s because for the third consecutive week, CBS is home of college football’s highest-rated game of the week.

Alabama-Arkansas drew an average of 5.828 million viewers, making it the most-watched Alabama-Arkansas game in 12 years. That game also peaked at nearly 7 million viewers at one point.

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