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Study Shows Soccer Fans Prefer Full Game Coverage

“In recent years, outside of streaming, a real concern has been the attention span on younger fans.”

Jack Ferris

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It doesn’t matter what network you look at – every player in the linear sports game invests a lot in highlight shows.  Every player in the linear sports broadcasting game gives their viewer pregame, halftime and post game options surrounding a big game – not unlike hors d’oeuvres and dessert complimenting a fine meal.  That’s been the formula for years, with FOX, CBS, NBC, Turner and ESPN understanding their real meal ticket lies with the rights to the actual game.  

In recent years, outside of streaming, a real concern has been the attention span on younger fans.  Fans who seem much more interested in watching scoring plays on Red Zone than actual football games on CBS or FOX. 

Highlights have become so easily accessible, all you have to do is follow your favorite team or player on social media, and you get all the action on your phone without committing to a whole game on your couch.  One outlet that has understood the transition of the sports world into social media better than anyone is Bleacher Report – and a new study they composed presents good news for their older network counterparts.  

According to their data – 63% of soccer fans prefer watching a full game over highlights.  One might overlook this number, as soccer is hardly a top priority for the main linear players, but the MLS fan base is the youngest in the nation with an average age of 40.  Soccer culture is centered around the actual matches themselves.  Getting together with other fans in a living room, garage or local watering hole is a must in the soccer experience.  

A “we’re in this together” attitude already exists with hardcore NFL and college fan bases – but hardly at all with regular season NBA games.  The difference could boil down to the length of the regular season and the marketing the league supports of it’s individual stars; 1) It’s hard to get excited for 1 of 82 regular season games when over half the league makes the playoffs in the Spring, and 2) a Kevin Durant fan in Atlanta can catch all of his guy’s plays on Instagram or YouTube right after the game.  

So, while there will always be casual fans who prefer their sports concentrated into a 2-3 minute highlight package, there’s still real value in live event rights.  This, of course, is good news to the networks who invest heavily in their partnerships with the major leagues in the world.  

Sports TV News

Notre Dame Expects Next Media Rights Deal to be Worth $60 Million Annually

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Coduto

There are still a few more seasons until Notre Dame starts the process of hammering out a new media rights deal, but it’s believed the FBS independent could have its next partner shelling out more than double what NBC is currently paying.

NBC, which appears to be a front-runner alongside CBS to be one of the key rights partners in the Big Ten’s new contract, currently pays $25 million each year for rights to Fighting Irish football according to Front Office Sports.

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Viewership for Fighting Irish games was reportedly down 48% year-over-year for the 2021 season, averaging 2.5 million viewers. The year before that, the pandemic season in 2020, viewership for Notre Dame was its best since 2005.

Notre Dame remains an independent in football, but is in the ACC for its other programs. The Fighting Irish do play some ACC schools in football. With NBC and the Big Ten apparently becoming new partners, it’s believed that Notre Dame would then have more Big Ten opponents in football.

The current contract between the school and NBC ends in 2025.

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Sports TV News

Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

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The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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