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Clippers, Pelicans See Spike In National TV Games

“The Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans will earn a lot more national attention this NBA season.”

Jack Ferris

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In a sports world filled with contradicting opinions, one assertion that’s accepted as universal truth is the following: the 2019 NBA off season was the craziest we’ve ever seen.  Never has the balance of power in any league shifted as dramatically in a two week period as the NBA did in early July.  As a result, there’s huge interest in a number of teams that otherwise were irrelevant to casual basketball fans last year.

The team that tops that list, without question, is the Los Angeles Clippers.  With the blockbuster signings of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers went from a fringe playoff team in the West to a serious title contender – and the NBA’s TV partners have taken notice.  

Monday, in a press release from Warner Media, the Clippers learned they would make 11 appearances on TNT this season, behind only the Warriors and Lakers who have 12 appearances each.  In fact, the NBA on TNT’s opening week will feature two Clippers games, the first coming on Tuesday October 22 against the Lakers and the second two days later in San Francisco in the first regular season Warriors game at the Chase Center.  All in all, the Clippers will play the Warriors, Lakers, Rockets and Blazers twice each on TNT.  On Christmas Day, Kawhi Leonard’s new team will wear their road jerseys at Staples Center tipping off against the Lakers on ABC.  In all, the Clippers will make 15 appearances on ESPN or ABC this season.  

Another team in the West that gained new found popularity this Summer is the Pelicans – who locked up Duke phenom Zion Williamson with the first overall pick of June’s draft.  New Orleans will be featured much more prominently on the national stage this season with 5 TNT games.  In fact, the 2019-2020 NBA on TNT season will tip off in Toronto when the Raptors host the Pelicans on Tuesday October 22.  Zion fans will have plenty of other opportunities to see the rookie play on the national stage with 12 games on ESPN or ABC this season.  

While teams like the Clippers and Pelicans have to be pleased with the national exposure they’ll see this year, there are two teams in the east who must be disappointed with the draw.  The Hornets have a grand total of one nationally televised game on TNT, and none on ESPN or ABC, and the Knicks will appear on TNT twice and ESPN once. 

The Knicks, who still top Forbes’ list of the most valuable NBA franchises, had a tremendously disappointing off season losing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Nets – and it looks like the national exposure followed the All-Stars to Brooklyn.  The Nets will appear on ESPN or ABC five times this year, with TNT broadcasting an additional six games.  

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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Sports TV News

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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