Sports TV News
Sabathia Joins ESPN Before Playing Days Are Even Over
“One interesting thing about the deal is that Sabathia will spend most of his air time talking about sports other than baseball.”
CC Sabathia has signed a deal to join ESPN in 2019 even though he will still be on an active Major League Baseball roster. The New York Yankees pitcher told reporters at Spring Training that he will make 15 appearances across a variety of programs on The Mothership during the season on days he isn’t scheduled to pitch.
A press release from ESPN offered some more details from the deal.
Sabathia will contribute analysis to various high-profile ESPN platforms this season, including on SportsCenter, Get Up!, First Take, Golic & Wingo and occasionally Baseball Tonight. He’ll appear in-studio for several of the appearances. In addition, he will periodically join ESPN Radio New York as a guest host on the Humpty & Canty show, which airs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET. Sabathia will debut during ESPN’s spring training coverage in late March.ESPN press release
One interesting thing about the deal is that Sabathia will spend most of his air time talking about sports other than baseball.
Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing says that the deal may have a financial payoff for Sabathia, but it is a PR risk. There may even be some logistical problems that neither side has foreseen.
I can’t imagine Yankees fans would be too thrilled if he gets shelled in an April start, and two days later, he’s on Get Up talking about the NFL Draft, or if he’s on the disab….er, injured list, and is in studio on First Take debating about the NBA Playoffs. What happens if Sabathia is struggling and is moved to the bullpen? Will he still show up in the studio, even though he has no idea when he’ll pitch next?Joe Lucia, Awful Announcing
ESPN clearly sees Sabathia as a valuable broadcasting asset and signing him to a deal that allows him to work a limited schedule during his final season gives the network the jump on potential competition for his services. It remains to be seen what ESPN’s longterm plans for Sabathia are, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the pitcher slide into a more dedicated MLB analyst role after his official retirement.
Sports TV News
Steve Rosenberg Out As President of Diamond Sports Group
“John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that a memo went out to the company on Monday morning announcing the change.”
A company declaring bankruptcy is never good for the people at the top. Steve Rosenberg is experiencing that right now. He is out as the president of Diamond Sports Group.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that a memo went out to the company on Monday morning announcing the change. In it, Diamond CEO David Preschlack wrote that CFO David DeVoe will assume Rosenberg’s responsibilities for now.
Steve Rosenberg joined Sinclair in 2020. He replaced Jeff Krolik as the company’s president of local sports.
Last week, Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company intends to work out new deals with the NBA and NHL for its Bally Sports RSNs in hopes that it will remain in tact. Ourand writes that an attempt to do the same with Major League Baseball has not yielded meaningful results as of yet.
“With the recent appointments we have made to the senior leadership team, and the talented staff we have throughout the organization, I am confident in this team’s ability to work together to execute our strategic goals at this time,” Preschlack wrote in his memo.
Sports TV News
Variety Predicts Sports Betting Broadcasts Future of RSNs
“With the state of the RSN business a little hazy for some networks, closer integration with gambling is something that VIP+ expects to be leant into more in an effort to engage the most passionate local fans.”
The sports betting market grew in 2022. With five new states legalizing mobile wagering last year, that is not a surprise. The overall take for sportsbooks was $93.4 billion. That is a whopping 84% growth over 2021.
With so much money coming from new markets, Variety wanted to get an idea of how much the sports betting industry is actually growing versus how much of the growth is artificial.
The study from the publication’s VIP+ shows that in markets with a full year of mobile wagering on the books before 2022, the growth is slower but still significant at 19%. Writer Gavin Bridge suggests that the statistic could hold the answer for the future of regional sports networks.
“While winning money was the most popular reason for sports betting, data provided by VIP+’s research partner CRG Global in our ‘Sports Gambling & Media‘ report show that one of the most popular reasons was that betting ‘makes the games I watch more exciting,’ with several other reasons relating to watching televised games also important to some betters,” he writes.
With regional sports networks looking for a new model in the face of serious economic uncertainty, Bridge points to Comcast’s regional NBC Sports networks as a reasonable path forward.
Through its partnership with PointsBet, NBC offers alternate broadcasts of the local teams it covers that have a gambling focus. The alternate feed have not been available for every game on the RSNs, but Bridge writes that we could see more of that in the future.
“With the state of the RSN business a little hazy for some networks, closer integration with gambling is something that VIP+ expects to be leant into more in an effort to engage the most passionate local fans. Ultimately, sports betting overlays and alternative game feeds can be anticipated for most major sports in the coming years as media partners look for new revenue streams and ways to engage fans for longer.”
Sports TV News
NCAA Tournament Delivers Highest-Rated Round of 64 Ever
“ For the first round on Thursday and Friday of last week, games accomplished a total audience delivery of 9.2 million viewers.”
The first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA tournament are in the books, and the TV ratings indicate historic viewership.
For the first round on Thursday and Friday of last week, games accomplished a total audience delivery of 9.2 million viewers. This was for contests on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV in addition to streaming on March Madness Live.
Action on Thursday averaged 8.4 million, up 2% compared to 2022.
On Friday, game broadcasts averaged 9.3 million, making it the most-watched first round ever.
The Sweet 16 tips off on Thursday this week.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.