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Sinclair Expects Rebate For Missed Games From Leagues

“During the company’s quarterly earnings call, Ripley referenced the minimum number of games each team must deliver according to the rights agreement they signed with Sinclair.”

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Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley told investors that the company expects to receive a rebate from some major sports leagues as a result of games missed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the company’s quarterly earnings call, Ripley referenced the minimum number of games each team must deliver according to the rights agreement they signed with Sinclair. He noted that any rebates are typically given at the end of each league’s season.

“While we believe that sports will come back this year and be in high demand, at this time the leagues have not indicated when games will resume. Therefore, we do not know where we will end up in relation to the game delivery minimum,” Ripley said according to Mike Farrell of Multichannel News. “Keep in mind that the NHL and NBA regular seasons were almost complete when the seasons were suspended, so shortfalls in those weeks if any should be minor.”

Each Major League Baseball team’s agreement with their regional cable partner is different, but typically guarantees the network 120-150 games in a season.

ESPN recently reported that Major League Baseball has laid the foundation for a deal between the players and the owners to restart the season. If the regular season were to begin on July 4, it is likely we get 80-100 games for each team.

“We think we’re likely going to be headed into a situation where there [are] rebates,” Ripley told investors. “We won’t know the magnitude of those until we get more clarity on when the games will be played and how many will be played. What we will do is update our guidance once we have a clear picture — my guess is that will be the next quarter — and from there you’ll be able to tell what the impact is.”

Sinclair purchased the 21 FOX regional sports networks Disney was forced to divest in order to close its acquisition of 21st Century FOX. Sinclair also owns stakes in the YES Network, the Tennis Channel, and the recently launched Marquee Sports Network.

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Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live

“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

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Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.

“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.

Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.

“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.

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