Major League Baseball is not above using its media properties to get its way during these labor negotiations. According to a report from The Athletic, MLB.com and MLB Network have wiped virtually all evidence of any current players from their platforms.
According to the story, MLB.com reporters have been instructed not to write stories about current players. They have also been told not to mention any of them by name on social media.
“MLB.com reporters initially were instructed to maintain a low profile on social media during the lockout, according to sources, but hours before the CBA expiration that directive changed: Writers are to avoid posting about baseball on social media until further notice. (That restriction was eased the following day, yet reporters were asked not to mention 40-man players or comment on the labor situation.)”
Awful Announcing highlights the current look of MLB.com. Joe Lucia describes it as “Hall of Fame and evergreen-centric, with a pair of links to information about the CBA stuck in between news and charity sections.”
The bigger change may be at MLB Network. The network has essentially ceased all live programming. Shows like Hot Stove, High Heat, and MLB Tonight have been replaced by game replays and movies.
“MLB.com reporters and MLB Network on-air personalities may cover breaking news and CBA negotiations, according to the league, but will not create content featured around current players until a new CBA has been agreed to,” The Athletic’s story reads. “That means very rare mentions of players on the league’s website or network due to a Catch-22: MLB Network and MLB.com can still mention players where breaking news warrants it, but because there will be no transactions and little news for the considerable future there will be few occasions to discuss them by name.”
Major League Baseball and its players association have never had a rosy relationship. It looks like the league’s media arm has been dragged right into the middle of the latest fight and is being used as part of the skirmish.
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’
“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”
Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.