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Eddie Olczyk: I Want Inside The NBA Crew On TNT NHL Show

“We will be keeping an eye on those ESPN games. I think personally it will only help as far as raising the bar and raising the competition level. Yes, we want to be better than those guys for sure.”

Ricky Keeler

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After NBC Sports owned the sole broadcast rights to the NHL for 16 years, two networks (TNT and ESPN) will share the league’s rights beginning this season. The NHL’s 2021-22 season begins on Tuesday night on ESPN. TNT will have a doubleheader Wednesday with the New York Rangers vs. the Washington Capitals (7:30 PM ET) and the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Colorado Avalanche (10 PM). 

Before the season gets underway, the lead broadcast team of Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Keith Jones took some time to answer questions about the upcoming season and want to continue building on what they had established before last season came to an end.

“For the last 16 years as part of the NBC team, I think NBC did such an unbelievable job, said Albert. “We will try to continue the legacy and raise the bar even higher. Turner’s always willing to try new things, they pride themselves on storytelling and educating. Hopefully, we will be able to do all of those things.”

Even though the trio is new to TNT, they aren’t new to each other. That could be critical in terms of separating their broadcasts from the others. 

“The chemistry for the 3 of us took front and center. TNT, to be a part of their big family, it’s going to be very exciting. It’s a new challenge. We know a lot of eyes will be on us. We have a job to do. We are going to entertain. We are going to be ourselves,” said Olczyk

Albert has experience being a part of a network that shared the NHL broadcast rights when he was doing play-by-play for the NHL on FOX from 1995-1999. During that time, FOX and ESPN would split the Stanley Cup Finals. As Albert mentioned, they used to joke at FOX that all the series would end in sweeps. He told BSM that with the league’s TV rights once again split between two different networks, it will feel a lot like those old days. 

“I’m sure we will have a little bit of friendly competition with Boucher and Ray Ferraro and some of the other guys. It can only help raise the bar. The three of us and Brendan [Burke] and Darren [Pang] and the entire studio crew, we are all competitors and we want to be the best. We will be keeping an eye on those ESPN games. I think personally it will only help as far as raising the bar and raising the competition level. Yes, we want to be better than those guys for sure.”

Players are feeling the excitement of the NHL’s new media deals. Keith Jones can relate to that because he was a player when FOX got the rights to the sport.

“I thought that was pretty cool and that it was an opportunity for us to continue to grow the game. I think as players, they all want to take hockey to a new level. They want to compete with the other major sports and they want to make sure that they show just how great of a game they play and how great they are. I think they are going to embrace it even more than they have in the past. Having a couple of networks going head-to-head only makes it more exciting for everyone involved.”

Having the NHL means more opportunities for TNT to use its partnerships with the NBA and All Elite Wrestling for cross-promotion. Eddie Olczyk believes that should be great for the network and the league. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of maybe the Inside The NBA guys playing a part in some broadcasts.

“I think everyone knows Charles Barkley loves the NHL. He loves the NHL Playoffs. It’s the one question that I’ve probably gotten more since I have become a part of the family. ‘You think Charles will be on the hockey call at any point?’ And I’m like I sure hope so. Maybe we can get Charles and Shaq and Kenny and Ernie over there and have some fun or get them on-site. I don’t know. I would assume it’s going to happen at some point.”

Sports TV News

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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Sports TV News

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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