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Tom Brady, Bucs vs Patriots Reportedly Set For Week 4

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to visit the New England Patriots on October 3, per reports.

MIchael Quirk

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As the NFL continues its assault on the sports media landscape with a 12-month news cycle, the league is set to unveil its 272-game schedule Wednesday evening. That has not stopped various news outlets from reporting leaks from the schedule, including a particularly appetizing tidbit from Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion.

Tesfatsion, known as @MasterTes on Twitter, reported early Wednesday morning that Tom Brady will make his return to Foxboro on October 3 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the New England Patriots. Brady famously spent the first 20 years of his NFL career donning the Pat Patriot insignia on his helmet, before jettisoning – like many Northeasterners before him – down to Tampa last offseason.

Brady won six Super Bowls in New England for a franchise that had zero Super Bowls and just seven postseason wins in its history before his arrival. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer wasted no time in Tampa as he won his seventh Super Bowl this past February to cap his first season as a Buc. Cam Newton started 15 games in place of Brady in New England, with a lone spot start for Brian Hoyer with Newton unavailable. The Patriots this season with both Newton and 2021 first round pick Mac Jones vying for the starting quarterback position.

The game will mark arguably the most-anticipated return date in the NFL since Brett Favre returned to Lambeau Field as a member of the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 1, 2009, a game the Vikings won 38-26. Not only will Brady return to his old grounds; but he will be joined by tight end Rob Gronkowski who played his first nine years in Foxboro, as well. Former Patriot turned radio host Jermaine Wiggins postured on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show Wednesday morning that this game will draw a larger audience than the Super Bowl. While the math on that remains to be seen, this particular Sunday Night Football telecast figures to be must-watch TV.

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The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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