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Financial Firm: MLB Owners Can Afford To Miss Whole Season

“They are literally sitting on billions of dollars.”

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Do not fall for the line about most owners being poor or broke and the MLB Lockout being necessary for the league’s survival. The league has already indicated it is willing to miss all of April if the MLBPA doesn’t agree to its terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. Fitch Ratings recently released a report that shows owners can afford to miss a lot more baseball than that.

The report, which was issued last week, notes that owners would not be in financial dire straits even if the entire 2022 season were scrapped. They are literally sitting on billions of dollars.

Major League Baseball clubs can draw up to $2 billion from the A-rated MLB Club Trust Securitization and $1.25 billion from the MLB Facility Fund, which holds an A- rating. On top of that, the league holds $2.1 billion in debt from the two organizations.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has been very critical of writers siding with players in the negotiations. He said that group “should be ashamed of themselves” and singled out Jeff Passan of ESPN for knowing very little about these negotiations.

Russo has been honest. He recognizes that as an MLB Network employee, many will think he is delivering a message the owners have approved. However, he noted that as long as the lockout drags on, he will not be doing or getting paid for High Heat on MLB Network.

It is easy to point fingers about who is telling whose story when all fans have to go on is media reports. A financial report this damning to the owners’ public position is much harder to refute.

Fitch Ratings does note that team owners could not weather a lockout forever. An extended absence could “alienate the fan base and erode game attendance and viewership,” the report says. That would make it a near certainty that revenue from future rights deals and ticket sales would plummet.

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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