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Disney to Sell Off Fox Regionals Individually

It is still possible that the giants Disney was anticipating seeing in round one come in for round 2 of bidding.

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According to a report by Josh Kosman and Richard Morgan in Thje New York Post, the Walt Disney Company was not pleased with the initial round of bidding for the 22 regional networks it acquired from 21st Century Fox. The company does not believe it can make the $20 billion it was hoping to by selling off all of the networks as a single unit. It will instead look to sell them off one-by-one.

Disney was reportedly anticipating broadcast companies to be the primary players for the networks. Instead, what it saw was “a low ball bid” from Sinclair Broadcasting, Nextstar enter a bid that “is not seen as a serious,” and more private equity firms than television companies throw their hats in the ring.

JPMorgan Chase and Allen & Co, the two banks overseeing the sale, are using interest in individual networks to generate some sales. Charter Communications, which already owns SportsNet LA, is reportedly interested in Sports South, which is the home of the Atlanta Braves and Hawks. Minnesota Twins owner Jim Polhad is reportedly interested in acquiring FS North, which has the rights to the Twins, Timberwolves, and Wild. 

Kosman and Morgan spoke to a “RSN expert” for their piece that described the trepidation as the result of cord cutting. 

“The RSN business is not a growth business, but a declining business,” an RSN expert told The Post. “There are a lot of subscriber defections [along with the rest of cable] and the RSNs do not own the digital rights.”

It is still possible that the giants Disney was anticipating seeing in round one come in for round 2 of bidding. Fox and Comcast have been rumored to be interested and now that word is out that they may not have to spend top dollar, it stands to reason that those companies could reassess their desire to be involved in the bidding.

Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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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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