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Sinclair RSNs Will Owe More Than They Get Back For Unplayed Games

“Broadcasting & Cable spoke to Wells Fargo’s Steve Cahill about the financial implications for Sinclair. Cahill doesn’t think that the broadcasting conglomerate will get back an overwhelming amount of money.”

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Sinclair bet big on its sports future when it purchased the FOX regional sports networks that the Walt Disney Company was forced to by the Justice Department to divest. Sinclair followed up those acquisitions by launching Marquee in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs. Turns out, those bets have gone bust, at least in the short term.

With no live sports for the last four months, there has been a lot of speculation on the rebates leagues and teams will owe broadcast partners. Many contracts stipulate that refunds are owed in the event a specific number of live games are not played. Given that those RSNs own the TV rights to more than 40 professional teams across the NHL, NBA, and Major League Baseball, it is safe to assume a lot of that rebate money is heading Sinclair’s way.

Broadcasting & Cable spoke to Wells Fargo’s Steve Cahill about the financial implications for Sinclair. Cahill doesn’t think that the broadcasting conglomerate will get back an overwhelming amount of money.

“Cahall figures that Diamond pays about $1.9 billion in sports rights, 62% of those going to baseball teams. Diamond will get no money back from the NHL teams, minimal money from the NBA teams and a good chunk from baseball teams, which are playing just 60 games in this shortened season, fewer than the 142 games they promised to MVPDs.”

His estimation is that Sinclair and Diamond (the company’s sports subsidiary) will get back somewhere in the neighborhood of $693 million. That is nothing to scoff at, but Cahill doesn’t believe it will cover the refund it will owe cable providers.

“According to Cahall, only the largest distributors get rebates from Diamond’s networks, which will deliver about 64% of the games they contracted for, resulting in an $823 million rebate to the MVPDs.”

That would put Sinclair about $130 million in the red for 2020.

It’s hard to guess how these moves will effect the average sports fan. $823 million is a large number, but when it is divided amongst every cable subscriber that receives a Sinclair RSN, all of which have different carriage fees for cable and satellite companies, it is hard to imagine the average subscriber gets more than a $5 – $10 rebate.

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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