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Fox Expands WWE Partnership On FS1

“This week, FS1 replayed January’s Royal Rumble, while future Tuesday night programming will include specials from WWE 24 and Ruthless Aggression, along with the brand-new series Best of WWE.”

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Without live sports for the foreseeable future, FOX is increasing their slate of wrestling content. On Tuesday, FOX announced an expanded partnership with WWE, offering Tuesday night programming and providing fans with an additional destination to watch WrestleMania36 this weekend. 

“We’re pleased to offer this new slate of WWE programming for viewers during these challenging times,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports. “We hope this lineup of sports entertainment programming serves as a much-needed relief for fans. We appreciate the hard work and creativity of the teams on both sides of our long-term partnership with WWE.”

For the first time ever, WrestleMania will be a two-night event on Saturday Apr. 4 and Sunday Apr. 5. In addition to the WWE Network, fans can now consume WrestleMania for $59.99 via foxsports.com, as well as the FOX Sports and FOX Now apps. In addition to WrestleMania36, the expanded partnership will see 22 hours of classic content aired on FS1, Tuesday nights throughout the spring. 

This week, FS1 replayed January’s Royal Rumble, while future Tuesday night programming will include specials from WWE 24 and Ruthless Aggression, along with the brand-new series Best of WWE. One-hour editions of WrestleMania 31, WrestleMania 33 and WrestleMania 34 will also be featured. 

Recently, ESPN announced a partnership with WWE, allowing them to rebroadcast three classic WrestleMania matches on consecutive Sundays. FOX has a much more extensive relationship with WWE, which includes a five-year deal as the home for SmackDown, which began last October. 

“Six months after our historic partnership brought SmackDown to its new home on FOX, we are thrilled to deliver even more premium programming, including WrestleMania, across the entire FOX Sports portfolio,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. “In partnership with FOX Sports, it’s a privilege to be able to entertain our fans each week and put smiles on their faces particularly during a time when they need it the most.”

Sports TV News

Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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Sports TV News

FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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Sports TV News

NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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