The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa recently spoke to several people involved with NHL broadcasts about what direction they saw the sport’s televised future heading. Both executives and play-by-play men stressed the importance of interactivity and innovation.
For NESN’s Jack Edwards, the biggest motivation for change will be the prevalence of a second screen for younger fans.
The last briefing I got from NESN on this subject — where our audience is technologically — was about five years ago. One hundred percent of the people we surveyed under 30, every single person under 30, had a second screen going during a Red Sox or Bruins game,” Edwards said. “It’s part of life. Now, that might have been text messaging a boyfriend or girlfriend, or going to hockey-reference.com. But it was a second screen. And if there’s a second screen diverting that person’s attention, that’s revenue either lost by the primary screen or to be won the primary rightsholder.
He pointed out to Shinzawa that every break in the action leads to audience erosion, so he hopes to see more done to keep viewers engaged when there is no action on the ice. Shinzawa says several people he talked to suggested that hockey may take a page from soccer’s playbook to combat that.
What would a hockey broadcast with no commercials look like? Shizawa suggests that more bugs and crawls featuring product logos or sponsor messages could appear over the action on the ice. That would eliminate the need for three commercial timeouts per period.
Sam Flood, who is the executive producer of NBC Sports’ coverage of the NHL, wants to use those second screens to give viewers more access. That might even mean an R-rated version of the broadcast is on the horizon for the Peacock Network.
It would be two different screens,” Flood said. “One would be the traditional telecast: play-by-play, inside the glass, analyst. The other would be, ‘Here we go, on the ice with these guys.’ Players and coaches fully miked. F’s and S’s get used a lot. It’s the unfiltered stuff that is so incredible. You’d be hearing all the cute exchanges people have, the exchanges between opponents. I think it would be an incredible way to consume the game.
Shinzawa heard a lot of interesting ideas and shares all of them. You can read the full article here.
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.”
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.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
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.”
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.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”