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Peter King Leaving Sports Illustrated for NBC Sports

Jason Barrett

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After 29 years, Peter King is moving on from Sports Illustrated. The senior writer, founder of the popular NFL website The MMQB, and one of the most respected voices in football has accepted an opportunity with NBC Sports, bringing his nearly three decade run with SI to an end.

“When Sports Illustrated was good enough to allow me to start The MMQB five years ago, I wanted to introduce a group of promising young journalists to the SI audience and give them a chance to develop into prominent voices on the pro football scene,” said King. “We’re fortunate now that Jenny Vrentas, Robert Klemko, Andy Benoit, Albert Breer, Conor Orr, Jonathan Jones, Tim Rohan, Jacob Feldman and Kalyn Kahler—average age: 30—have grown into an excellent team, with a group of superb editors. It’s time for them to have the opportunities I’ve had over the years, and to do some of the stories and projects I’ve done that they’re more than ready to do.”

King will begin his new venture with NBC this July. As part of his new opportunity he’ll write a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; appear regularly on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continue contributing to Football Night in America. He’ll also resume his popular NFL training camp tour, filing his column from the road and offering occasional video or written reports from team to team throughout the preseason.

“I’m thrilled to be joining NBC Sports full-time after working with the football crew there since 2006. I’ve loved my time there, both in the studio and doing longer features for Football Night in America, and the chance to bring my column there felt like a perfect match to me,” King added. “I loved my time at Sports Illustrated. Quite frankly, it was very tough for me to leave. But the only place that felt like a great fit after my years at SI was NBC, which has always made me feel like a member of the family.”

“Peter has been one of the most prolific and respected NFL writers for decades, and we’re thrilled to host his work exclusively on NBC Sports Digital platforms,” said Rick Cordella, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. “With the addition of Peter and his Monday morning column, we now have the most complete NFL digital portfolio in sports as we stream primetime television’s number one show, Sunday Night Football; provide continuous football news and analysis on Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk; and produce unparalleled fantasy football information on Rotoworld.com.”

Similar to what ESPN has done with Adam Schefter, NBC will also provide King with an opportunity to expand his horizons. The network says King will be included on the network’s coverage of its most high-profile events, including the Stanley Cup Final, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and more.

“As one of the best NFL reporters in history, Peter’s information, storytelling, and analysis make us better across the board,” added Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “With Peter expanding his NBC Sports presence from Football Night to PFT Live and digital, football fans are the big winners.”

“Peter, in my opinion, is one of the five most important figures in SI history,” says SI editor-in-chief, Chris Stone, “one, for the following he’s built covering North America’s most popular sport, and two for his willingness to embrace new approaches to journalism and storytelling, most notably with the creation of The MMQB, first as a conversation-setting column in 1997, then as a conversation-setting website in 2013.”

King has flirted with the possibility of leaving SI before, but when push came to shove, chose to stick it out with his longtime employer. However, the Meredith Corporation, which owns SI, has chosen to sell the popular sports brand, leaving the future unclear. Couple that uncertainty with layoffs and a number of high profile defections, and King decided that it was time to roll the dice on a new adventure.

“I just felt it was time to move on from the 24/7-ness of football coverage and try something a little bit different. My 29 years at Sports Illustrated have been, collectively, a dream come true. I’ll always be grateful to Mark Mulvoy for hiring a green 31-year-old kid in 1989, just as I’m grateful to my current boss, Chris Stone, for the opportunities and support he’s given me in recent years. For three decades, I’ve had the job of a lifetime in the sports media business, and I will be forever grateful to SI. I leave at the end of May with immense gratitude to my editors over the years and to my staff at The MMQB since 2013. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.”

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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