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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.