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Rob Gronkowski Likely Headed To WWE

“Smackdown moved to FOX last year, around the same time Gronk signed a deal with the network.”

Brandon Contes

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After staying away from the NFL last season, former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is close to signing a new contract. Unlikely to see quarterback Tom Brady follow, Gronk is finalizing a deal with WWE according to Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin.  

In the announcement, Satin notes, “while the capacity in which he will be used is unclear at this time, I’m told Gronk could be making an appearance in WWE as early as March 20th on Friday Night Smackdown in New Orleans.”  

Smackdown moved to FOX last year, around the same time Gronk signed a deal with the network.  Last October, Gronkowski joined FOX as an NFL analyst where he worked alongside Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan, Tony Gonzalez and Peter Schrager on their Thursday Night Football pregame show. Gronk has also contributed to FOX in other ways, including their New Year’s Eve coverage.

Since retiring from the NFL a year ago, Gronk has done a great job at keeping himself relevant, in part because of constant rumors about possibly returning to play football.

While WWE might not pay the future Hall-of-Fame tight end as much as an NFL team would, joining pro wrestling could open up further entertainment and endorsement opportunities as the 31-year old looks to keep growing his brand. 

It’s not the first time Gronk has been involved with pro wrestling. In 2017, he appeared at Wrestlemania and both parties have continued to show mutual interest in a partnership when Gronk concluded his NFL days were over.

Sports TV News

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.”

Jordan Bondurant

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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.”

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Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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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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