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Jamie Horowitz To Lead WWE Studios & Oversee Original Content

“The accomplished sports television executive will oversee WWE’s original content and be responsible for WWE Studios in Los Angeles.”

Jason Barrett

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Photo Credit: Leon Bennett/Getty Images

The WWE continues to bolster its organization by adding individuals with strong experience in sports television. The latest addition, former FOX Sports National Networks President, ESPN Vice President of Original Programming and Production, and Executive Vice President of DAZN, Jamie Horowitz. Horowitz’s first day on the job is today, June 1st.

The accomplished sports television executive joins World Wrestling Entertainment as its Executive Vice President, Development & Digital. Horowitz will oversee WWE’s original content including scripted and unscripted programs for digital and social media. He will also be responsible for WWE Studios in Los Angeles.

The multi-platform content division, WWE Studios, has been involved in the release of more than 50 films and series, and has partnerships in place with Netflix, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, MGM, Warner Brothers and others. Some of the current programs created by the company include A&E’s The Quest for Lost WWE Treasures, the award-winning A&E Biography which features documentaries on five former WWE superstars, Total Bellas on E! and Miz & Mrs on USA Network. The company also partnered with HBO and Bill Simmons to produce the Emmy-nominated documentary Andre the Giant.

Prior to joining WWE, Horowitz served as Executive Vice President, Global Content at DAZN where he oversaw the company’s original programming, social content and editorial strategy. Under his watch, DAZN put Pat McAfee’s show on television, Adnan Virk was hired to host a daily MLB highlight show titled ‘Change Up’, and the company teamed up with Sylvester Stallone to create the exceptional documentary ‘One Night: Joshua vs. Ruiz’. Both McAfee and Virk have since had working relationships with the WWE.

But inside sports media circles, Horowitz is most remembered for two things. First, his influence on ESPN’s talk programming, where he grew ratings by embracing the world of debate, developing First Take and Sports Nation. Second, was his move to FS1 to help launch the network and compete against his former employer. Horowitz used a similar strategy to build FS1 around personalities with an ability to deliver strong opinions and create conversation. His relationships and influence helped the network land Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, and Jason Whitlock among others.

Though it wasn’t mentioned in the network’s press release, it’s highly likely Nick Khan’s involvement with WWE helped the company land the sports media executive. The two have known each other and have done deals together over the years. Khan is the former co-head of CAA’s television department and was one of most successful agents, attorneys and deal makers in the sports media industry before leaving CAA to become WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer.

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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Sports TV News

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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