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ESPN Extends Skipper Thru 2018

Jason Barrett

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ESPN president John Skipper has overseen a tumultuous year for the network. He’s made several high-profile personnel changes, with Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and Colin Cowherd among the high-profile names leaving.

All of that work has been done underneath pressure from Disney to reduce costs in the face of losing millions of subscribers who have cut the cord from cable and satellite. The money Skipper has been asked to slice from the ESPN budget is significant, reportedly $100 million from next year’s expenses and $250 million from the overall budget by 2017.

But the corporate overlords at Disney are apparently happy with the job Skipper has done thus far. Either that, or they know he’ll need the proper time to make these changes with the security of his contract situation not being a question. ESPN oracle Jim Miller tweeted out the news Wednesday morning that Skipper has indeed been rewarded with those assurances.

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Skipper has held his current position as ESPN’s president since Jan. 1, 2012. He’s been with the network since 1997, first serving as senior vice president and general manager of ESPN The Magazine. In 2000, Skipper was given the same title with ESPN.com. Three years later, he was promoted to executive vice president.

To say Skipper has overseen a vast change in what the network offers in terms of content on television and online would be both an obvious and major understatement.

How viewers consume their media has changed significantly, and ESPN has had to adapt with the times. Fans don’t just get scores and highlights from SportsCenter, nor do they even always watch live events on their televisions anymore. ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app have essentially become new channels to provide consumers with the wide variety of programming available. Obviously, ESPN.com has had to change with the times as well, not just in terms of content, but also distribution with mobile devices becoming a significant part of the average person’s media diet.

ESPN takes a lot of criticism from fans and media — obviously, some of it from this very website — and much of it is valid. But the network and company has undergone a sea change during Skipper’s time with the network, even during his tenure as president, and he’s kept this enormous ship steered in the right direction. The bosses at Disney clearly feel the same way and believe Skipper is the man to oversee the numerous changes ESPN will have to undergo in the years to come.

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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