For years, ‘no one really cares about hockey’ has been a frequent sentiment. But apparently plenty of people care, enough to garner the sport more than half-a-billion dollars in their next media rights deal.
In 2011, NBC signed a 10-year contract worth $200 million annually for the NHL’s TV rights package. Now that ESPN reentered the fold, announcing a seven-year deal with the NHL last week, the league’s media rights fees are expected to triple. This coming off a global pandemic where ratings deteriorated last summer.
Although financial terms were not disclosed, The New York Times reported Disney will pay the NHL around $400 million annually over the course of their seven-year partnership. That deal nets ESPN 25 games per year on linear TV, half the playoffs, four Stanley Cup finals and a significant streaming element.
ESPN’s partial partnership still leaves room for another network to purchase a rights package and according to Dan Cohen, SVP of Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting division, it could earn the NHL more than $600 million annually in total.
This was part of the NHL’s plan as NBC’s current contract sets to expire. After previously selling their national TV package exclusively to one network, the league sought to split their broadcast rights this time around to maximize profits. NBC remains the leader to pair with ESPN as the NHL’s TV rightsholder and after paying $200 million for an exclusive deal in 2011, Cohen suggests between $185 million and $225 million for a partial package.
While NBC’s most recent deal with the NHL was agreed to in 2011, the network has been the league’s broadcast partner since 2005, when Comcast purchased their rights for $70 million per year. Despite SBJ recently reporting a deal renewal between the NHL and NBC is “not a slam dunk,” it would seem mutually beneficial to continue a partnership that has so far been deemed a success for both sides.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Pedro Martinez: ‘Never Imagined’ TV Career
“And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.”
As the Major League Baseball season comes to a close and preparations for the playoffs begin, MLB Network and TNT analyst Pedro Martinez joined The Press Box podcast to discuss his time as a television analyst.
When asked what he liked about working in television, Martinez didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“I think it’s a platform and the opportunity I have to bring to the audience what I know, what I think, what I understand and broadcasting gives me the opportunity to continue to have that communication with the people, the young athletes and fans. At the same time, I’m able to continue to learn and transmit some of the things that I would love to show everybody by playing but my body doesn’t allow me, but my mind does.
“This is a great way to bring the right information to the people, but I take advantage of the platform to communicate with my fanbase, the player’s fanbase, and the voice behind the players and the situations that come up, I can actually teach the audience some of the things that I understand from my point of view.”
A media career was never in the cards for Martinez. At least that’s what he thought during his playing career.
“I swear to god, it’s the only thing I never imagined. I never thought I would like being in front of a camera,” Martinez said. “And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.
“You learn so much just by having access to information, having access to so many other different things. A lot of people would be surprised how much you can dig into and I think for everybody else, if they knew the kind of information we have access to, they’d be intrigued to come do what we do.”
He then said one of the things he would have never picked up on was how many pitchers tip their pitches, but due to all of the information, video, and relationships broadcasters have make that information readily available. He added his work in television has enabled more relationships with baseball players from his home country, the Dominican Republic.
Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews Get Heated Over Ime Udoka Coverage
“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”
On Friday’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith continued his stance regarding the public leaking of information surrounding Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka relationship with a team staffer. He also went further by sharing his dismay that Udoka was seemingly the only person punished for the violation of company policy.
“Only he is in violation of the company policy?” Smith asked. “The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?”
Before the end of the show, ESPN NBA Today host Malika Andrews called in the program and wanted to address Smith’s comments.
“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews said. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”
Smith would replay saying that his intention was not blame anyone outside of the Celtics coach.
“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” Smith stated. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”
Andrews tried to jump back in for further commentary but Smith stopped that and noted he didn’t appreciate being interrupted on “my show”.
Andrews did thank Smith for clarifying his stance at the end of the segment. ESPN has removed access to the video from its YouTube channel by making it private.
Rich Eisen on Tom Brady Joining FOX: ‘I Gotta See It to Believe It’
“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow.”
Is 2023 the year we see Tom Brady in the broadcast booth for FOX? Rich Eisen isn’t so sure.
“I still gotta see it to believe it, I’ll be honest with you, man. I know it’s a great chunk of change and it’s a lot of money. I don’t know,” the NFL Network icon said on the most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.
Tom Brady has taken his foot off the gas in 2022 in a more public way than fans are used to. He voluntarily missed eleven days of training camp and has announced that he will not be available to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesdays during the season.
Eisen says if Brady is looking for a less demanding career, broadcasting isn’t the best option.
“It is a lot of work. And I’m not saying Brady’s not up for it, but if he’s been grinding for 23, 24 years, it’s still a grind in its own way.”
FOX signed Brady to a ten-year deal reportedly worth $375 million to start after he retires. He will be in the network’s top broadcast booth and also serve as an ambassador for the network’s coverage of the NFL.
Eisen says there is a much better model for Brady’s media career in his old rival Peyton Manning.
“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow,” Eisen said. “Peyton Manning could be making that much money in the booth himself, right? Instead, he’s got his own production company and he’s doing the games, but not all of them, only 10 of them. And he’s doing them from his basement and he’s got the rights to the games!”
He added that Tom Brady “write his own ticket like that” if he chose to do something similar to what Manning has done with Omaha Productions.
Brady has not had much to say about his deal with FOX since the news became public. In June, he told Dan Patrick that he knows his first season in the booth will come with a lot of growing pains.