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ESPN Rolls Out Future 30 for 30 Films and Podcasts

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It appears that ESPN+ is going to play a large role in the future of 30 for 30. ESPN announced that its next 30 for 30 film will debut on ESPN+ before debuting on the traditional television network.

Seau, a biographical documentary about All-Pro linebacker Junior Sean, will premier on ESPN+ on September 20. The movie will premier on ESPN at a later date, which has not yet been announced. The Last Days of Knight, an inside look at the CNN investigation that eventually led the University of Indiana to fire basketball coach Bobby Knight, debuted on ESPN+ back in April. It will make its television debut on Thursday, November 29.

ESPN appears to be using the debuts of event 30 for 30 films to push subscriptions and/or free trials of ESPN+. The OTT streaming service also debuted a six-part 30 for 30 miniseries earlier this year called Enhanced. Sean Keeley of Awful Announcing called it a smart strategy for the OTT service.

There’s only so much live content that they’re able to push to the subscription service without damaging their cable networks and online platforms, but scripted and documentary films like these are a perfect way to add value (and perhaps new subscribers) to their offering. And some of these may eventually make their way to TV as well, as we’ve now seen with “The Last Days of Knight.”

ESPN did announce one new 30 for 30 doc that won’t go through the streaming service first. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it will focus on a day in October of 1992 when Deion Sanders played an NFL game in Miami and two MLB playoff games in Pittsburgh, all within a span of 24 hours. That film will debut on ESPN in January.

The network also announced a new 30 for 30 Short about Australian daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from outer space. It will debut on ESPN on September 23. There is also a new season of 30 for 30 Podcasts on the way. The upcoming season will return to series of single documentaries after last season featured five episodes focusing on one story. New podcasts begin in October.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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