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John Canzano: ESPN’s PAC-12 Coverage ‘A Low-Budget’ Disappointment

Multiple sources told Canzano that ESPN used saved money by utilizing “low budget” trucks to carry the signal on Saturday night.

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It appears that the Pac-12 has the disservice of getting stuck with the short end of the stick at ESPN, and John Canzano of The Oregonian and 750 The Game in Portland has had enough of it.

The longtime columnist wrote a piece yesterday about the quality of broadcast that the Pac-12 has been receiving on ESPN compared to Pac-12 Network broadcasts. He says the difference is pretty clear, calling the ESPN broadcast “a fuzzy, low-budget disappointment.”

Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury News captured two different screenshots, one from a broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, and one from an ESPN broadcast this Saturday night.

On the left is the Pac-12 Network and on the right is ESPN’s broadcast last weekend. Anyone who knows anything about cameras or production can clearly see that the ESPN broadcast is just not up to par with what should be the standard nowadays of high definition for a nationally televised college football game.

Multiple sources told Canzano that ESPN used saved money by utilizing “low budget” trucks to carry the signal of Oregon’s win over Washington State on Saturday night.

It appears that ESPN did this simply because they knew that they can get away with it. Pac-12 games are on at 10:30 ET which is typically the lowest viewed game on the network on most college football Saturdays. Canzano reached out to ESPN on the production quality and has yet to hear a response back on the matter.

Canzano hosts a syndicated radio show The Bald Truth across Oregon. With the Oregon Ducks in the thick of the College Football Playoff discussion for the first time in years, it makes sense that he was so agitated by the production of the product.

His biggest takeaway is that the PAC-12 has to be a better advocate for its schools and its football product.

“The Pac-12 needs to take note of this and ensure that it doesn’t happen with future TV contracts,” John Canzano wrote. “Raise the number of minimum cameras at the stadiums. Ensure that the crews are staffed and ask that pylon cameras and isolated camera operators who can better follow the action are mandatory. Also, require ESPN to use a truck that will give viewers a quality picture on their television vs. the low-budget rig it sent to Eugene on Saturday.”

Regardless this type of quality should be unacceptable in 2021 for any major network and the Pac-12 may seriously want to consider this when they do their next round of media right negotiations.

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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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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