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Will Cowherd Face FS1 Pre-Empts?

Jason Barrett

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Now that Colin Cowherd and ESPN have officially made their split, it is time for the host to look into his crystal ball and analyze his time at Fox Sports 1. His show is going to be simulcast in a similar fashion to The Mike Francesa Show, though Cowherd’s radio side will reportedly have a national syndication arm through Premiere. Seeing the way Francesa’s show has been regularly pushed to the lightly distributed Fox Sports 2, should Cowherd be worried his show gets the same treatment?

It hasn’t always been rocky for Mike Francesa. After splitting with Chris Russo in 2008, Francesa began hosting solo from 1-6:30 eastern on WFAN. His show was simulcast on the regional YES Network until 2014, when they opted to air The Michael Kay Show instead. Since then, everything has seemingly gone downhill for Francesa. He found a new television home with the Fox Sports startups, who agreed to air his show from 1-4 eastern on FS1 and 4-6 eastern on FS2.

Little did Francesa know his show would be regularly preempted for live sports programming, where his show would be pushed to Fox Sports 2, or, even worse, solely on the Fox Sports Go app. This was a new obstacle for the Sports Pope, who only saw live Yankee games take the place of his show when it was on YES. Preemptions happen, though Francesa finds soccer to be less entertaining than watching his show. He should have known better, as his local sports talk show has been annihilated in the ratings by the world’s most popular sport. Francesa has vocalized his disdain toward preemptions on numerous occasions, complaints that have soured his relationship with Fox Sports and CBS Sports Radio. At least Jay and Dan have had some fun with the whole situation.

Mike Francesa is a big fish in the biggest local pond, but Colin Cowherd is a big fish in the national pond, something that gives him a much larger reach. If Cowherd’s new radio show is a direct replacement for Mike Francesa, these same preemptions could be a problem. That said, with Cowherd’s impressive reach, the ratings issue wouldn’t be as big of a deal, not to mention his following would find Fox Sports 2 or clamor at their cable providers to carry the channel. This would lead to Fox Sports 2 in more homes and could help turn it into a viable third-tier sports network.

Part of the problem with forecasting preemptions for a Colin Cowherd show is that a time slot has yet to be revealed. This issue has already been covered, though it was likely complicated by Cowherd’s comments that ended his time at the Worldwide Leader. Assuming he inhabits the same slot that made him a big name at ESPN, live event preemption won’t be as big of a problem – most of the NASCAR and soccer events that Fox has the rights to occur in the afternoon. Furthermore, Cowherd would actually reach more subscribers than he did on ESPNU and would be a big draw for a network struggling to earn viewership outside of live events. Fox Sports has to tiptoe across a very fine line considering their radio arm airs two competitors in the Dan Patrick Show and the Rich Eisen Show and now their television arm will be simulcasting a direct competitor. If that last sentence sounds complicated to read, just imagine what is happening behind the scenes at Fox.

When it comes to the marriage of Colin Cowherd and Fox Sports 1, there are multiple factors that could affect future success, including competition within and without. But the one thing that’s the biggest difference between Cowherd and Francesa at Fox is the network’s investment. Fox is merely simulcasting Francesa’s show from WFAN and can move it and preempt it as they wish with no loss to themselves. They’ll be paying Cowherd in the range of several million dollars per year. That fact alone makes Cowherd’s show a programming priority that Francesa’s show never could be.

Credit to Awful Announcing who originally published this article

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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Sports TV News

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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