Sports TV News
Nexstar CEO: College Conferences, Motorsports Exploring Deals With The CW
“While an agreement could be struck as early as this fall, Sook said that more enticing options are not available until 2026.”
After Nexstar Media Group agreed to a multiyear media rights deal with LIV Golf to broadcast several of its matches, other sports entities have become interested in doing the same. At this week’s SVB MoffettNathanson Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Nexstar CEO Perry Sook conveyed that ever since the company was willing and able to program sports games on the weekends, various properties have explored partnerships with the network. Among them are various conferences comprising the Power Five, along with motorsports groups.
While an agreement could be struck as early as this fall, Sook said that more enticing options are not available until 2026.
The Pac-12 is at the conclusion of a 12-year contract with ESPN and FOX Sports, but has yet to find a match for a new contract. Washington State University President Kirk Schulz hopes a deal can be struck “in the next few weeks to a month,” perhaps leading to conference expansion. After conversations between the Pac-12 and Nexstar Media Group were reported and subsequently repudiated last month.
The deal The CW has with LIV Golf is a revenue-sharing agreement without a lump sum rights fee paid for the first two years. It has been viewed as somewhat polemical because of the backing the league received from the Saudi Arabian government, which the public associates with terrorism and human rights violations. The moderator of the conversation described the agreement as something that “fell into [their] lap,” a description Sook refuted.
“It didn’t drop in our lap,” Sook said. “We had to go get it and we had to do a lot of selling, but we did get it. They were willing to take a chance with us. We were willing to take a chance with them. I think both parties are pleased.”
Sook claims that CW affiliates did not express pushback to the pact with LIV Golf, stating they were “100% for it.” Yet eight CBS-owned CW affiliates, along with several others owned by Scripps Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group, either declined or did not immediately agree to broadcast the golf tour.
Since March 2023, sales around LIV events have steadily improved with every tournament. Sook says it demonstrates to prospective advertising clients the effectiveness of doing business with Nexstar and The CW.
“We’re very pleased at taking this from signing the contract two weeks before we went on the air [and] not a lot of promotion to steady growth. That’s really what The CW is all about from this point forward – steady growth.”
The golf tour, however, recently announced it will cease releasing viewership information going forward after reportedly lower-than-anticipated ratings. It believes data from Nielsen Media Research, which is measured for network broadcast windows only, is not completely representative of its viewership. Certainly, that will be on the minds of other, more established leagues and promotions as they enter into conversation with Nexstar.
Sports TV News
Mike Breen: My Dream Was to Be a DJ at WPLJ
“I enjoyed being on the air and talking. So my initial thought was, ‘I’m going to be a disc jockey.’”
These days, WPLJ in New York City is a Christian station owned by the Educational Media Foundation. When Mike Breen was a kid in Yonkers though, it was one of the most influential rock stations in America and the man who is now known as the voice of the NBA wanted to be on the air there.
On the latest edition of Dan Le Batard’s South Beach Sessions podcast, Breen revealed that he always loved sports. His first introduction to broadcasting though came from a neighbor named Tony Minecola. He was a few years older than Breen and studying to be a radio broadcaster in college.
“He built a radio station in his basement and played disc jockey,” Breen told Le Batard. “’He had commercials, records, you know, everything. Like it was a real radio station, only it only went from one room to the next. That was what he was into, and that’s what he was going to college for. And we used to hang out in the basement all the time. And one day he says, ‘Hey, why don’t you come in? You want to you want to be the DJ for a little bit?’ And I’m like, okay, let me try it.’ And I fell in love with it.”
Mike Breen didn’t just fall in love with the idea of radio. He saw it as a viable career and knew exactly where he wanted it to take him.
“I enjoyed being on the air and talking. So my initial thought was, ‘I’m going to be a disc jockey.’ WPLJ was like the big rock station in New York back at that time, and I thought, ‘I’m going to be a DJ on WPLJ.’ That was my first goal.
Through the 70s and early 80s, WPLJ was an album rock station. Some of its most iconic on air personalities included Carol Miller, Pat St. John, Fr. Bill Ayers, and Mark Goodman, who was eventually one of MTV’s original VJs.
Breen said he loved the rock music of the time, especially Jethro Tull and Bruce Springsteen, but he realized that a broadcasting career could keep him close to sports too.
Obviously, he chose well. That is not to say that he couldn’t have been a great DJ if given the chance, but he went on to be the voice of the New York Knicks and has called more NBA Finals games than anyone else in history.
WPLJ was out of the rock business by 1983 when it became a pop station.
Sports TV News
New Episodes of Beyond Limits Coming to CBS Sports
The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi.
CBS Sports is set to premiere new episodes of its franchise Beyond Limits, which celebrates athletes who go beyond the implicit boundaries of sports and society. Three half-hour episodes will be hosted by CBS Sports reporter AJ Ross, and will also air on CBS’ linear channel and stream live on Paramount+.
The first episode of the season is titled “Who I Am,” and it will feature Byron Perkins, who is the first openly gay football player at a historically black college or university (HBCU). Perkins is a redshirt senior at Hampton University. The show will also discuss the relationship he has with his mother and how she has impacted him both as a person and an athlete.
Two more episodes will premiere throughout the season – one on making sports adaptable and accessible; and the other featuring athletes who have moved into executive roles. The latter show includes interviews with NBA Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars; New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development, Swin Cash; and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent.
The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi. Its first episode premieres on Sunday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m. EST/10:30 a.m. PST, and should provide fans with unique storytelling and spotlight into the journeys of various key figures in sports and media alike.
Sports TV News
ESPN Colleagues Pay Tribute to Neil Everett
“It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett.”
Neil Everett has become one of the faces of SportsCenter. After 23 years at ESPN, he announced that he is leaving the network.
Colleagues at the World Wide Leader took to Twitter to share their thoughts. It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett. Chief among them was his SportsCenter partner of fourteen years, Stan Verrett.
If Root Sports Northwest requires references, there are plenty ESPN colleagues past and present that were immediately ready to vouch for Neil Everett.
Everett was not laid off. He turned down a new contract that would have forced him to take a pay cut.
The Walt Disney Company is in the middle of layoffs effecting every division. CEO Bob Iger has tasked his leaders with reducing costs by $5.5 billion and cutting 7000 jobs.