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Sinclair Reportedly Wins Auction For Fox RSNs

“Liberty Media, BIG3, and other bidders still have the opportunity to make one last push for the regional sports networks. Federal regulators also need to sign off on the sale.”

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According to Charles Gasparino of Fox Business Channel, there is a handshake agreement in place between the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Walt Disney Company. The deal would give control of the Fox regional sports networks that Disney acquired in its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Sinclair in exchange for as much as $10 billion.

Sinclair owns more local broadcast stations than any other company in America. Lately, it has grown its footprint in the sports world. The company already owns the Tennis Channel and OTT service Stadium. Earlier this year it announced plans to launch Marquee, a Chicago-based RSN in conjunction with the Cubs, next year and purchased a minority stake in the YES Network.

There are still some potential road blocks to the deal being finalized. Liberty Media, BIG3, and other bidders still have the opportunity to make one last push for the regional sports networks. Federal regulators also need to sign off on the sale.

No firm purchase price has been stated. Gasparino says the deal between Sinclair and Disney is for “up to” $10 million. That is significantly less than the $20-22 billion that Disney was hoping to fetch for the networks.

Sports TV News

PAC-12 Commissioner: Deion Sanders Adds Value In TV Rights Negotiations

“We knew some other information was coming, including the announcement of Coach Prime, and why would we do a media deal before that?”

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Pac 12

Even if you are not a fan of Coach Prime, his influence is hard to deny. Since accepting the head coaching job at Colorado, Deion Sanders has made the Buffaloes a hot topic in the sports media. That almost never happens.

Will that enthusiasm and curiosity translate into dollars and cents? Georga Kliavkoff thinks so.

The PAC-12’s Commissioner told The Athletic that he has seen Colorado already reap the benefits for itself. When the team opens the 2023 season with College Football Playoff participant TCU, he expects the conference and it media partners to see the value of Deion Sanders too.

“I can’t imagine what the ratings are going to be for that game,” he told Andy Staples.

Fans of the PAC-12 and media that cover the conference have been wary of the Big 12 raiding the West Coast for a number of the remaining top brands. The Big 12 has been seen has having a stronger position to emerge as the third mega-conference after solidifying deals with FOX and ESPN last month.

Kliavkoff also said that Sanders is a factor in the conference not having a new television deal lined up yet.

“We knew some other information was coming, including the announcement of Coach Prime, and why would we do a media deal before that?” the commissioner said adding that Deion Sanders “absolutely adds value” for the conference and its media partners.

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Sports TV News

Kevin Warren: Big Ten Not Closing Door On ESPN Forever

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This summer the Big Ten Conference inked new media rights deals with FOX, CBS and NBC that will be worth $7 billion per year over seven years. With the agreement, ESPN will no longer have rights to broadcast conference contests.

But to those saying that the conference will never again be partners with the Worldwide Leader, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren believes that isn’t the case.

“I’m constantly in a state of perpetual negotiation and relationship building,” Warren said in an interview at the Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Wednesday. “I have incredible respect and admiration for (ESPN president) Jimmy Pitaro and (ESPN programming and original content president) Burke Magnus and (ESPN programming and acquisitions vice president) Nick Dawson. And now with the change from (former Disney CEO) Bob Chapek to Bob Iger, I have great respect for Disney as a company – and what its meant to our country – and for ESPN.”

Despite losing out on the Big Ten, which is shaping up to be one of the nation’s first college super conferences with the addition of USC and UCLA in 2024, ESPN will carry on with America’s other emerging super conference in the SEC, which will add Texas and Oklahoma as members in 2025. ESPN/ABC and the SEC have a 10-year media rights deal in place worth $300 million per season that will go into effect in 2024.

But Warren continued that with things being set in stone for at least the next decade in terms of media rights, there’s no reason to believe that the conference and the network can’t find ways to work together in the future.

“I’m a great believer that life is long, and I will continue to have communications with ESPN,” he said. “I have great respect for them. They’re incredibly important to this institution that we call college athletics. I stay in close contact, and opportunities do present themselves in unique ways.”

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Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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