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Fantasy Football Delivering Big Wins For TV

Jason Barrett

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The fantasy sports craze has looked very attractive to media companies: it’s a source of ad dollars and, for those who invest in the leading outfits, an avenue for digital growth.

But in the past 24 hours it’s been more of a headache. Controversy over the premature release of information by an employee at DraftKings, one of the two big firms, continued Tuesday as there were calls from Capitol Hill for greater oversight of the industry.

On Tuesday, DraftKings pulled all of its advertising from Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN but kept ads in place on other networks including Fox Sports, which has a stake in the fantasy sports company. Fox Sports parent 21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp were part of the same company until 2013.

An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment on DraftKings or whether the incident involving that firm would cause the company to rethink its willingness to be in business with the fantasy sports company. A Fox Sports spokesman said the company was keeping a close eye on the situation but declined to elaborate further.

NBCUniversal, which is an investor in FanDuel, a rival fantasy sports firm, declined to comment. NBCUniversal is a unit of Comcast Corp.

In just a few short years, advertising from fantasy sports firms has become omnipresent on television and radio. DraftKings and its rival FanDuel have spent more than $200 million on television commercials this year, according to iSpot.tv.

The sites also buy significant time on sports radio stations and have sponsorship deals with many prominent sports talk personalities. For example, Dan Patrick’s national show counts FanDuel as one of its sponsors and the company is often plugged during broadcasts.

Fantasy sports have been around for years, of course, and have become so ingrained in football that even announcers talk about it casually during game coverage. On Monday night, Kurt Warner noted during his radio coverage of the Seattle Seahawks — Detroit Lions game that fantasy players are upset with how the Seahawks are using tight end Jimmy Graham.

The appeal of the NFL’s RedZone channel, which shows live action from every game on Sunday afternoons, is also primarily to fantasy players wanting to keep up on how their rosters are doing.

DraftKings and FanDuel have upped the stakes for players, allowing them to draft virtual teams of professional athletes and compete against each other based on the teams’ real-world performances that day or week. The companies put customers’ contest entry fees toward cash prize pools and keep around 10% in commissions for themselves.

Part of the theory for the media companies that have invested in DraftKings and FanDuel is that people who stand to win money on games are more likely to tune in. Fantasy can drive buzz and viewership.

The NFL has embraced fantasy football and has its own operation. However, there are no monetary prizes for participants. The league has no sponsorship relationship or investment in any fantasy sports companies and a spokesman said it is keeping close tabs on the DraftKings matter.

NFL teams are not allowed to accept sponsorship for fantasy sports but can accept advertising “within their controlled media properties,” the spokesman said. That means teams can accept stadium signage as well as ads on any media or online properties they operate. While teams cannot invest in fantasy companies, individual team owners can.

Credit to the Wall Street Journal who originally published this article

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.

Jordan Bondurant

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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.

Jordan Bondurant

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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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NFL Studio

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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