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Sinclair Launching Streaming-Only Platform for RSNs

“The service is rolling out in time for 2022 Opening Day as they continue negotiating with the 26 other franchises.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair Broadcast Group is still bullish on its sports properties, with CEO Chris Ripley telling analysts that Sinclair’s regional sports network division has “ample liquidity” to operate under.

Ripley also confirmed that Sinclair is rolling out a new streaming launch in the spring to bolster its products further.

Sinclair’s CEO made the comments to analysts during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. As of now, Ripley says the company has direct-to-consumer streaming rights for four MLB franchises. The service is rolling out in time for 2022 Opening Day as they continue negotiating with the 26 other franchises.

Cord-cutting has become more and more popular over the past few years. The percentage of households with a traditional TV package is still at 71% nationwide, but it’s slowly ticked down. Sinclair knows their sports profits are rooted in a stone-age system and is doing its best to pivot.

“We do think we have critical mass in terms of rights to launch a product, and that’s what we intend to do,” Ripley said. If all goes to plan, Sinclair will be showing 14 MLB teams on its streaming platform by the time MLB throws the first pitch on the 2022 season.

As for the other major sports with loaded game schedules, Ripley is confident Sinclair will “get to the finish line with the NHL and NBA,” and have all 30 NBA teams and all 32 NHL franchises streaming on the platform before long.

The move to a streaming-only option marks a major shift for cord-cutting sports fans. Just recently, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban forked over $2.5 million of his money to help Mavericks cord cutters watch games.

“No,” Cuban responded bluntly on Twitter to a media member. “It’s me personally paying $2.5m dollars to buy down the cost of streaming Mavs games so people have an option they can afford. I don’t get any financial benefit whatsoever beyond hopefully having more Mavs fans able to watch the games. I get this is Mavs Twitter, but come on.”

Sinclair appears to be leaping into RSN streaming-only packages, a step Disney has yet to commit on with its ESPN content.

Sports TV News

ESPN Reportedly To Lose Big Ten Media Rights For the First Time in 40 Years

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Jordan Bondurant

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BIG TEN, CBS, NBC, FOX SPORTS

After several months, it appears the Big Ten is nearing the finish line on a new media rights deal. And despite still reportedly being in negotiations with the conference, ESPN is looking set to lose out on media rights.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, CBS and NBC are the frontrunners to join with FOX.

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Ourand reported his sources told him ESPN’s deal to keep the Big Ten was not as strong as the one offered by the other two networks.

It would mark the first time in four decades that ESPN didn’t have some involvement in Big Ten sports. But Ourand indicates the worldwide leader could pivot into bundling Big 12 and Pac-12 rights as an alternative. Additionally the network would then pursue keeping its deals with NCAA for championship coverage as well as being the home for the College Football Playoff.

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Sports TV News

Pat McAfee: Deals With Amazon/ESPN Fell Short Because The Show Comes First

“Energy, time, anything away from this show… we got a lot going on. This is my number one focus and it should remain as such…”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would be hosting his own version of the popular Manning Cast only for college football games.

McAfee, co-host AJ Hawk, and the rest of his cast and crew from The Pat McAfee Show will host an alternate feed for six college football games this season.

McAfee was rumored to be in talks with Amazon about potentially hosting an alternate broadcast for its Thursday NFL games, and the former Colts punter had also reportedly talking with ESPN about potentially being featured on College GameDay.

McAfee said to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post that ultimately the Amazon and GameDay deals didn’t come to fruition because it just didn’t make sense.

“I’ve had great conversations with both companies, we just weren’t able to get to a point where ‘the ask’ and ‘the business’ were where it needed to be to get a deal done on both fronts,” McAfee said.

McAfee on his show on Monday elaborated a bit further, trying to put to bed that he was being courted for Thursday Night Football.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s what we were talking about, by the way,” he said. “I was never really approached for anything for Thursday Night Football. That was never really anything.”

Pat read from the full response to Marchand’s questions, posted under the Post story which appeared on the paper’s site Monday. He reiterated that his daily show and the small business he built around his show, take precedent over anything else.

“Energy, time, anything away from this show, this operation, this crew; we got families being built, we got houses being bought, we got 12 employees, we got a lot going on,” he said. “So this is my number one focus and it should remain as such because I have a brain, and also I care a lot about this operation. I love it, actually.”

Still, McAfee made it clear that just because no deal was signed with ESPN and Amazon for 2022 means the ship has sailed permanently. He’s keeping his doors open.

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Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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