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Romo Could Be Football’s Top Free Agent In 2020

“If Romo gets through the year without signing the dotted line for CBS, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports he’ll likely see offers eclipsing the $10M mark.”

Jack Ferris

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One of the largest looming free agency storylines in the NFL has nothing to do with a player.  The asset in question isn’t on any draft boards, and most casual football fans couldn’t care less where the talent ends up in 2020.  America’s top network executives, however, couldn’t be more dialed into the upcoming decision from Tony Romo.

Two years ago, Tony Romo had attention from NBC and FOX when he announced he was leaving the Cowboys and was interested in the booth.  NBC reportedly offered the charismatic quarterback part time work during their Thursday Night Football broadcasts with Mike Tirico.  FOX promised 17 weeks worth of games, but didn’t want to break up their top team of Buck and Aikman.  Against those offers, Romo’s decision to replace Phil Simms as the lead analyst for CBS was relatively easy.  Not only would he get the network’s top games week in and week out, he’d work alongside his golf buddy Jim Nantz.

Two years later, Romo has solidified himself as maybe the best television analysts in football – if not all of sports.  In his rookie season in the booth, Romo displayed an uncanny knowledge for today’s game and had a knack for predicting offensive plays at the line of scrimmage in real time.  In his sophomore year, he found a way to share information while deferring to his veteran partner allowing the broadcasts to sing.  

With 3 years under his belt next Spring, assuming CBS doesn’t extend their star analyst in the next 10 months, Romo will almost certainly become the highest paid analyst in the history of the NFL.  That honor currently belongs to John Madden, who made $8,000,000 during the 1993 football season.  If Romo gets through the year without signing the dotted line for CBS, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports he’ll likely see offers eclipsing the $10M mark.  

Marchand laid out several possible scenarios for Romo’s future in his Monday column. Fox, who many believed was Romo’s second choice two years ago, could put Romo opposite Joe Buck and relegate Troy Aikman to the studio show.  That move would make Fox younger in the booth and on their pregame show. Aikman could also jump ship to replace Romo at CBS in that scenario.  

ESPN/ABC would absolutely have to offer Romo a seat at the Monday Night Football table – a move they might hold out for if they don’t find a sustainable broadcast team in the next year.

NBC is maybe the least likely to land Romo, but if they decide to break up the iconic Michaels-Collinsworth duo they’ll have a shot.  It’s no secret Mike Tirico is standing in the wings waiting to take over for Michaels, and NBC decision makers might see the opportunity to make a transition to a younger booth sooner rather than later.

Romo has gone on record discussing how much he loves working with Jim Nantz.  It’ll be interesting to see how much that love is worth once the offers start rolling in.  

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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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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