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Traina Worried About Where Tiger vs Phil Leads

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Jimmy Traina lead his daily column at SI.com yesterday with some thoughts on the news that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will meet in a one-on-one round of golf over the Tanksgiving weekend. He wasn’t concerned about whether it would be good TV or who would win. Traina was more intrigued by the fact that the match will be available on pay-per-view.

Golf fans can pay to watch the event through their cable or satellite provider or they can stream it on the B/R Live app. The price hasn’t been announced but Traina doesn’t expect it to be insignificant, writing “I highly doubt it’s going to be 99 cents.” And he expects a full on publicity push as we get closer to the event, noting that the hypehas already started with Phil Mickelson joining Twitter to coincide with this week’s announcement.

They’re going to sell this one-on-one battle as a big deal, when in reality, it’s just a useless exhibition. It’s not a major. It’s not a real tournament. However, it stars the most iconic golfer of all time, so you’re being tricked into thinking you’re getting something good. The reality is, it’s just a TV special.

Traina is convinced that it won’t just be the folks at Bleacher Report or cable and satellite providers rooting for the event to succeed. He says that the whole sports media world wants to see the event generate big profits. “If you pay for it, sports media companies are going to be overjoyed because then they know they have an audience who will actually hand over their money to watch stuff like this,” and Traina is worried about where that might lead.

The danger here (and I use that word loosely, because this really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of life) is that this will open the floodgates for sports media outlets to eventually experiment with putting good things on pay-per-view. It’s not going to stop with Tiger-Phil if that’s a success. And I’m not saying you’re going to see an NFL playoff game or the NBA Draft or a college football playoff game on pay-per-view next year or the year after, but if you don’t think the leagues and networks, especially ESPN which just launched a streaming network, have that idea in the back of their heads for down the road, you’re not paying attention.

ESPN+ already has exclusive rights to a number of lower tier college football and basketball games. That service, and others like it, typically offer a lot of content for a lower monthly price ($4.99 in ESPN+’s case). Major boxing and MMA cards can get expensive. The Mayweather/McGregor fight, for instance, cost $99.95 to watch in HD. Would the Tiger and Phil extravaganza be priced similarly? If so, what would that mean football fans would have to pay to watch an NFL playoff game should that league switch to a pay-per-view model in the future?

Count Traina amongst the few sports media professionals encouraging fans to save their money.

At some point the sports fan, as a consumer, has to say no. We get dumped on constantly. Games ending past midnight on the East Coast. A billion commercials during every sporting event. Offensive ticket prices. More offensive concession prices. Even more offensive prices for parking.

Now we’re going to be tested to see which sporting events we’re willing to pay for. If you shell out the money for Tiger-Phil, you’ll be giving sports media companies incentive to take advantage of you again. And again. And again. Just say no.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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