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ESPN Extends ‘Monday Night Football’ Deal With Peyton and Eli Manning

The “ManningCast” will now be on ESPN2 and ESPN+ through the 2024 season.

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Fans will be able to watch ESPN’s “ManningCast” for one additional year than originally planned. According to the network’s NFL insider Adam Schefter, ESPN and Omaha Productions expanded their agreement for Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli through the 2024 season.

Peyton and Eli Manning’s initial deal with ESPN was a three-year agreement that ran through the 2023 season. The success of the “ManningCast” ensured that it would come back for the next two seasons and now a third is being added.

(The contract extension also staves off other potential suitors like Amazon, which had expressed interest.)

The alternate Monday Night Football broadcast with Peyton and Eli and a rotating cast of guests, aired on ESPN2 and ESPN+ this past NFL regular season for 10 games and immediately became popular with fans on social media and sports media observers.

The insight from both Manning brothers on playing quarterback in the NFL, sharing the thinking that goes into various situations, and providing analysis on decision-making by signal-callers and coaches provided an in-depth alternative from the quick-bite, 15-second commentary often heard on regular NFL telecasts.

More importantly, the “ManningCast” brought more fun and irreverence to its coverage with guests from the NFL, college football, and entertainment. Sometimes, that led to moments not usually seen on primetime TV, such as uttering curse words or using obscene gestures, that gave viewers the sense that most anything could happen. Such as Eli Manning comparing himself to Shakira, when explaining Dak Prescott’s warm-up exercises for his hips.

But the “ManningCast” production had plenty of bumps in its first season, notably going into commercial breaks abruptly while cutting off guests speaking. The delay on audio for guests speaking with Peyton and Eli on Zoom also made for a difficult listening experience at times. And sometimes, the Manning brothers and their guests were so engaged in a conversation that they weren’t closely following what was happening in the game.

Not everyone liked the “ManningCast.” Diehards wanting traditional play-by-play and analysis still have the regular MNF telecast on ESPN. (Whether or not Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick return for a third season has yet to be determined.) Some grumps who just don’t like fun seemed to deliberately go against popular opinion and either criticize or ignore it.

Yet innovation in sports broadcasting isn’t always successful. And this was more than a different camera view or new technology used during a telecast. This was an entirely different sort of broadcast, one that banked on the likability of Peyton and Eli and creating the impression of watching a game with friends. Being well-received is a major victory for ESPN. It’s no surprise the network wants it to continue.

UPDATE: The official announcement from ESPN also says that the agreement with Omaha Productions includes alternate telecasts for UFC, college football, and golf. Hosts for each event will be named later.

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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