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Amazon and UFC Announce Pay Per View Partnership

Brandon Contes

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The UFC agreed to a deal with Amazon, allowing the e-commerce giant to sell pay-per-view packages on Amazon Prime beginning with this Saturday’s fights.

Amazon will not be the exclusive rights holder to UFC PPV events which cost $64.99, but it will offer viewers the option of accessing the fights without having a traditional cable or satellite TV package. Currently, the UFC is in the final year of their television deal with Fox and searching for a potential new partner.

Fox will pay the UFC $160 million in 2018 and reportedly offered as much as $250 million to retain the broadcast rights.  According to a previous Sports Business Journal report, the UFC is expecting to receive upwards of $450 million annually from in their next rights deal.

While Amazon will only be a pay-per-view partner as of now, UFC president Dana White expressed an interest in having an OTT platform involved with their next broadcast agreement. “Now with technology, we’re getting to the point that I always dreamed about,” White said last October on the Wall Street Journal’s Unnamed Podvideocast. “I always used to say, we’ll take this thing all around the world, build a fan base, build some talent in every country around the world, and then we’ll get to a point in time where everybody can watch it at the same time on the same platform.”

Terms of the deal were not released, but it shows a continued interest of Amazon’s to broadcast live sports content. Last year, Amazon controlled streaming rights for Thursday Night Football, while they did not make a large bid for the TNF package in 2018, they could play a role in the NFL’s future.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, CBS CEO Les Moonves stated he believes internet giants such as Amazon will be involved NFL’s future broadcast rights. “Obviously the tech players are going to be part of it,” Moonves said, according to Deadline.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Disney CEO Bob Chapek: ESPN Viewers Under 30 ‘Absolutely Require’ Betting Content

“Our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of (sports betting) utility,” Chapek said. 

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Disney CEO Bob Chapek alluded to an upcoming partnership with a sportsbook during a second-quarter earnings call.

“Our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of (sports betting) utility,” Chapek said. 

Disney reported a revenue increase of 26% year-over-year, bringing in $21.5 billion in the quarter. ESPN+ now features 22.8 million subscribers, while Disney+ is at 152.1 million. Hulu, which Disney owns 67% of, now has 46.2 million subscribers.

Also during the call, Chapek discussed what a direct-to-consumer future looks like for ESPN, saying “we’ve negotiated flexibility into our new rights agreements”.

ESPN has continued to invest in the sports betting space, offering shows like Daily Wager, while also announcing the addition of sports betting expert Liz Loza earlier this week.

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Sports TV News

FOX Planning ‘Record Pricing’ for Super Bowl LVII Ads

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Super Bowl 57

FOX shared some lucrative news with investors on its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. The network said sales for the NFL season are in a very short word: up.

FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said “We sold more NFL Sunday advertising in the current upfront market than we did across Sunday and Thursday combined in the prior year’s market.”

He also went on to note that didn’t include commitments made for the network’s presentation of Super Bowl 57 in February.

“This excludes advertising commitments for the upcoming Super Bowl, where we are pacing well ahead of schedule and seeing very robust demand and record pricing levels.”

FOX began selling Super Bowl 57 ads last summer.

Murdoch didn’t share specific numbers regarding Super Bowl sales but in comparison, NBCUniversal sold 3-second spots for upwards of $7 million this last February.

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl, and we’re well ahead of plan in terms of selling our Super Bowl positions.”

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Sports TV News

Potential Big Ten/ESPN Deal Did Not Include ESPN Plus Option

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN, BIG TEN

A shockwave went thru the sports media landscape on Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Big Ten would not be awarding a media rights deal with longtime partner ESPN. Since then, more details have come out about why the two might not be in business together after this season.

On The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, John Ourand added another piece of the puzzle that could offer some illumination. According to his reporting and sources, ESPN wanted to be able to offer Big Ten games on their direct-to-consumer streaming option, ESPN+ and the Big Ten didn’t receive that well.

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

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