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Late Wednesday NHL Games Failing To Deliver For TNT

“With professional wrestling airing at 8 pm, that has meant that TNT cannot start its Wednesday hockey coverage until 10 pm on the East Coast.”

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Wednesday nights on TNT belong to AEW Dynamite. The show has been airing at 8 pm on Hump Day since its inception in October of 2019.

That will change in the new year. Dynamite will move to TBS and there are likely more than a few Turner Sports executives that will breathe a sigh of relief.

With professional wrestling airing at 8 pm, that has meant that TNT cannot start its Wednesday hockey coverage until 10 pm on the East Coast. It is a strategy that has most certainly impacted ratings in a negative way.

Sports Media Watch looked at the seven late-night NHL broadcasts TNT has delivered since the hockey season began. They are averaging around 235,000 viewers. That number is the result of losing a large portion of the audience for AEW Dynamite. It is also a smaller audience than TNT’s pregame show is drawing on those nights.

A game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Seattle Kracken was the high watermark last month, drawing an average audience of 373,000 people. On the whole though, the numbers have fallen far below 300,000 viewers. On multiple occasions, the late-night game failed to deliver even 200,000 viewers.

nhl tnt ratings chart
Courtesy: Sports Media Watch

Once wrestling moves to TBS, TNT will have NHL doubleheaders on Wednesday nights. The lead in audience for the 10 pm window will not be as large, but going from one hockey game to another is certainly a better fit. That will likely result in better audience retention throughout the night.

Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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Sports TV News

Return of Bob Iger Puts Pac-12 ‘Not Exactly In A Great Place’

“I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12.”

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The Pac-12 is currently in a media rights negotiation with partners for its next TV deal after the departure of USC and UCLA. The conference has remained committed to the stance that it feels it can match the dollar amount given to the Big 12 from FOX and ESPN. However, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post isn’t so confident.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Marchand said the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney CEO, coupled with recent layoffs from Amazon, could spell bad news for the PAC 12’s quest to match what the Big 12 received.

“Do I still think they can get the same number as the Big 12? I do, but you start thinking about where this is going and that’s not exactly a great place to be if you’re the Pac-12. They might get the number, but the idea that they’ll get a lot more than the Big 12 — which I’ve already said is not gonna happen — I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12…I think there’s some rough waters out in the Pacific.”

Marchand said if the University of California Board of Regents won’t allow UCLA to join the Big Ten as expected, the conference would then set its sights on Washington and Oregon, which would continue to decimate the Pac-12.

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