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XFL Aims To Strike Deals With Fox & ESPN

“The AAF is getting a jump on the competition by launching first. McMahon is trying to make his extra time count by pulling off a bigger launch.”

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Vince McMahon announced that he would be relaunching the XFL in a teleconference during the 2017 NFL season. He promised to move slower in organizing the league, so that it would be more ready for primetime when play began.

Not long after that announcement, Charlie Ebersol announced the formation of another professional spring football league, the Alliance of American Football. The AAF is getting a jump on the competition by launching first. McMahon is trying to make his extra time count by pulling off a bigger launch.

The AAF begins play on February 9 with a doubleheader on CBS. Most of the games in the league’s first season will air on CBS Sports Network though.

According to a report from John Ourand and Terry Lofton in the Sports Business Journal, McMahon is in talks with both Fox and Disney to put a number of games in the rebooted XFL’s inaugural season on broadcast television.

Sources say the league expects to have at least two-thirds of its games appear on broadcast television, underscoring the league’s strategy to get its games in front of the biggest potential audiences.


The XFL is deep in discussions with Fox and ESPN, in a pair of deals that would see games on ABC and Fox, as well as ESPN and FS1. So far, talks do not involve ESPN’s streaming service, ESPN+, sources said.

John Ourand & Terry Lofton, Sports Business Journal

The report stresses that those talks have only recently begun. With so much time before the XFL launches, things could certainly change, but the goal is in keeping with the “bigger impact” strategy McMahon is taking into the reformed league.

Both leagues are launching with eight teams. The difference being that only two AAF teams are in NFL markets compared to the XFL’s seven. The XFL will also have an advantage in terms of audience size. It will have five teams located in the top ten TV markets. The AAF will only have one.

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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