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NBC Rolls Out Plans For Rugby World Cup

“The tournament will be held in Japan, which means games will kickoff anytime between midnight to 6:45 am ET over the 6 week competition.”

Jack Ferris

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If you didn’t know – we’re just under a month from the 2019 Rugby World Cup and NBC will do everything they can to make sure it gets on your radar.  
From September 20 through November 2, NBC Sports will serve up the most comprehensive rugby coverage the United States has ever seen.  26 of the tournament’s 48 matches will air on live on NBCSN, with the remaining 22 available on NBC Sports Gold.

The two largest challenges facing NBC?  Location and timing. The tournament will be held in Japan, which means games will kickoff anytime between midnight to 6:45 am ET over the 6 week competition.  To combat that, NBC will air some of the larger matches on tape delay in an effort to attract more attention – not unlike their strategy while covering the Olympics.  Unfortunately, with the World Cup falling right in the heart of football season, it’s going to be difficult to grab the interest of the casual sports fan.

Earlier this Summer, FOX had great success with the Women’s World Cup – but they had two huge factors going for them; A) the tournament was held during June/July with very little competition outside of the NBA Finals and B) the USA was the top ranked team in the world.  As of today, USA Rugby is ranked 14th globally with the 5th (England) and 7th (France) ranked teams in their pool.  Any hopes of the Rugby World Cup registering with mainstream America goes hand in hand with a deep tournament run from the Stars and Stripes – and that looks like a long shot at best.

With that said, stateside rugby fanatics will get their fix starting September 20 at 6 am ET on NBCSN when Russia takes on Japan.

Sports TV News

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.”

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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.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handles Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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