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CSN Chicago Hires Leila Rahimi As Anchor/Reporter

Jason Barrett

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Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, today officially announced the hiring of sportscaster Leila Rahimi as its newest on-air talent member for the network’s signature nightly sports news program, SportsNet Central.  Rahimi will primarily handle anchoring duties, along with providing a variety of local professional, collegiate and high school sports feature reports.  In addition, Rahimi, who will begin her on-air duties Thursday night (Oct. 29) on Comcast SportsNet, will also participate in a variety of digital initiatives that will be showcased on CSNChicago.com.  The announcement was made by Kevin Cross, Senior Director of News & Original Content for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

“Leila joins us with a deep knowledge of the regional sports network business, along with a true passion for the local sports scene,” said Cross.  “Her acclaimed experience in our industry will certainly benefit both our network and our viewers. Leila will be a terrific addition to our stellar talent line-up.”

Rahimi most recently was an anchor/host/reporter at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, where she anchored SportsNet Central and provided field reports for the Phillies (MLB), Eagles (NFL), Flyers (NHL), 76ers (NBA), along with Villanova and Temple from a collegiate standpoint.  Plus, she also hosted magazine-style programs for the regional sports network.  In addition, Rahimi was also recently an anchor/host for the MLB Network’s Strike Zone Channel, which provides commercial-free whip-around coverage of live games from around the league.

Prior to her time in Philadelphia, Rahimi served as an anchor, reporter, sideline reporter and host at Comcast SportsNet Houston (2012-14) where provided sideline/beat reporting duties for the network’s Rockets basketball and Astros baseball telecasts, along with hosting pre/postgame shows, anchoring SportsNet Central, and hosting an hour-long, weekly high school football show. A multiple Emmy-award nominee, Rahimi covered numerous large-scale events, including the Rockets’ trip to Asia for the 2014 NBA Global Games and the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York.

Rahimi also served as the field reporter for Fox Sports San Diego’s Padres baseball telecasts in 2012, along with producing/hosting a weekly Padres magazine-style program.  From 2007-12, she was a sports reporter at KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Austin, TX, covering the University of Texas and local high schools.  Additional stops along Rahimi’s career path included a producing, then reporting role at Fox Sports Southwest in Dallas, TX, along with sports reporter/anchor duties at KXII-TV, the CBS affiliate in Sherman, TX.  Earlier in her career, Rahimi also spent four years as an update anchor/reporter at Sports Radio 1130 AM, “The Ticket,” in Dallas.

Rahimi, a native of Denton, TX, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism.

Credit to CSN Chicago 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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