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Bob Costas Explains Baseball’s Disadvantages As A TV Product

“While baseball is back and a new season begins, the interview with Cowherd and Costas is a reminder there are plenty of ways in which baseball is behind football and has a tall task in challenging the NFL in the era of social media.”

Ricky Keeler

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Opening Day in baseball is Thursday afternoon and baseball fans are hoping this is the year for their favorite team. However, baseball does have some issues that do need to be addressed as it heads into a new season.

On The Colin Cowherd Podcast this week, Cowherd was joined by former NBC broadcaster and now at MLB Network, the legendary Bob Costas, to talk about the past and the current state of the game. 

Cowherd began the podcast by talking about the 3 things he would change about the game, which would be to ban defensive shifts, lowering the mound, and shortening the season due to the lack of urgency. 

One of the issues that Cowherd brought up that baseball has was whether or not it would be able to challenge the NFL in terms of its popularity in the media. While the baseball pool is talented with international players, it is complex, Cowherd argues, while football is domestic, simple, and linear. Costas didn’t think it was a factor, but brought up that football is only once a week and it has lost the pace of play that it used to have.

“Baseball’s advantage when it had the appropriate leisurely pace was it had no clock,” Costas said. “When the Yankees and Pirates played Game 7 in 1960, the score of the game was 10-9. It took 2 hours, 36 minutes for a 9-inning game. The Yankees played Cleveland in an early playoff game last year. That game took 5 hours, the same score for a 9-inning game. Nobody is saying you should go back 60 years, but there has to be a happy medium between those two things.”

As for the NBA, Costas says current media deals have affected the way some fans view LeBron James and other current superstars compared to players of the past.

“What basketball has done, essentially, the NBA is a cable sport. Even when you watch the games on ABC as good as Mike Breen is as a play-by-play man, you think this is the same thing you just watched on ESPN. It doesn’t feel as big (not Mike’s faul, he’s a terrific announcer).

“Because it is a cable sport, that’s part of the reason to the casual person LeBron may be equally excellent, but nowhere he is as remotely impactful in popular culture (compared to Michael Jordan). Little old ladies from Omaha wanted to watch Michael Jordan. The promos for the game were on ER, The Today Show.  It was central to what was going on. Football maintains that centrality whereas hockey, baseball, and basketball on a national basis are essentially cable sports.”

While baseball is back and a new season begins, the interview with Cowherd and Costas is a reminder there are plenty of ways in which baseball is behind football and has a tall task in challenging the NFL in the era of social media. 

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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