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What Are The Streaming Sports Implications Of The Warner, Discovery Merger?

The deal would make Discovery the second-largest media entity in the United States.

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Courtesy: Apple Insider

This week’s announcement of the WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. merger could have ripple effects for sports streaming. AT&T is spinning off its entire media arm and selling it to Discovery in an industry-shaking move. The deal won’t go through until next year but analysts believe the merger could reshape sports streaming

AT&T pulled the trigger on the deal to relieve debt and generate roughly $43 billion. The agreement includes TurnerSports assets.

“This deal has profound implications on the sports industry,” Bruin Capital founder George Pyne said on Twitter. “The new entity can invest in adding more global sports rights to its NHL, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour and NCAA [Division I Men’s Basketball] Tournament content and create a must-have sports streaming service.”

The merger likely means an eventual combination of Discovery+ and HBO Max into one app for all of Discovery’s subscribers. The question is whether WarnerMedia’s sports-media holdings are going to move to a Discovery-branded over-the-top service. Our neighbors across the pond are bullish on this path. Discovery is the owner of Eurosport, the continent’s exclusive broadcaster of the Olympics.

“With the news that AT&T and Discovery are to merge, the landscape for sports media rights and sports broadcasting in the largest media rights market on earth is changing significantly,” said Conrad Wiacek, head of sports analysis at the London-based data and analytics firm Global data. “With sports content at the forefront of the OTT revolution, Discovery and AT&T merging now will create a new ecosystem for sports, such as esports, to gain a foothold in the US.”

The board of directors for both companies have approved the deal, creating the second-largest media company in the country behind Disney. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav and AT&T chief John Stankey didn’t go into much detail about sports programming in the announcement, but did say sports is one of the “true differentiators of the future.”

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Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”

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TNT/Larry Brown Sports

Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.

The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.

Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.

“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”

Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.

Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.

Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.

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Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”

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Rich Eisen Show

Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.

According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.

Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.

The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.

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Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast

“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’

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First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.

No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.

McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.

“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.” 

In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.

There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.

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