Tom Brady, new-look ESPN, may change look of sports media

Tom Brady, new-look ESPN, may change look of sports media

Comfortable New Yr, sports activities media lovers!

What’s so attention-grabbing about media and sports activities is you don’t know what will occur. That is very true within the tumult the digital age has created.

This impacts networks, the most important corporations and athletes. The sports activities media world continues to evolve. What we’re speaking about by the top of this yr might not even be on the radar right here at first.

With that stated, listed here are 5 of the highest tales I’m fascinated by for 2023.

1. Does Tom Brady be a part of Fox Sports activities?

Although Tom Brady has a $375 million broadcasting contract awaiting him ought to he select to retire, he is also prone to have quite a lot of groups vying for his companies after the season.Getty Pictures

That is the $375 million query, with the heavier cash on…not this yr. Brady may hold taking part in, which feels as whether it is extra potential after his divorce from Gisele Bündchen. He additionally may retire and determine he desires to only take a yr off, informing Fox Sports activities to carry his No. 1 seat on the highest crew for some time longer. There are additionally some fairly necessary people who consider — although they don’t know — that Brady won’t ever be within the Fox Sports activities sales space. These individuals’s principle is that the Fox Sports activities cash received so excessive that Brady simply took it as a hedge in opposition to different issues he may do after he stops taking part in.

No matter Brady does — just because he’s Brady — it’s going to be an enormous story, which is strictly why Fox needed him so badly within the sales space subsequent to Kevin Burkhardt.

2. How does the NBA transfer ahead?

Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA are anticipated to strongly take into account making a streaming service a part of their subsequent media rights deal.Getty Pictures

The following NBA rights deal might be not going to be determined in 2023, however, by the top of it, we’d have a clearer imaginative and prescient of what the NBA may do when their agreements with ABC/ESPN and TNT expire following the 2024-25 season.

What appears clear is the brand new offers can be completely different, with a streamer — like Amazon or Apple or Google/YouTube — doubtless concerned. ABC/ESPN will wish to retain The Finals and the most important video games, however in all probability can be OK with a smaller worth improve for much less tonnage. In the meantime, Turner’s future underneath Warner Bros. Discovery is an attention-grabbing story in itself, as David Zaslav, WBD’s president, has stated his firm solely desires to do a deal for the longer term, not one of many previous. (Extra on that beneath.)

There’s additionally an opportunity another person may get within the recreation — NBC. With broadcast TV having made a comeback, may NBC and Peacock work out one thing with the NBA? By this time subsequent yr, this might be extra in focus.

3. What’s Apple’s plan for sports activities?

Apple dipped its toes into the sports activities broadcasting waters with its Friday night time MLB doubleheaders, however the firm determined in opposition to including the NFL Sunday Ticket package deal.Getty Pictures for Apple TV+

We aren’t a fan of half-measures, which is what Apple has provided up to now. Nonetheless in its sports activities broadcasting infancy, it isn’t honest to totally decide till it has time to make extra strikes, so that is simply an commentary, not a criticism.

Final yr’s MLB deal for Friday night time doubleheaders was not for some huge cash in Apple’s world, however, whereas Apple and MLB have chosen to not launch any numbers, it’s onerous to consider it was very profitable.

Extra not too long ago, they stated no to the NFL for Sunday Ticket, which might have been their entry into the highest sports activities leisure programming, however it’s onerous to think about how the numbers added up at $2-plus billion per yr. So Apple may need been sensible to go.

This yr, the potential sports activities media-changing 10-year, $2.5 billion settlement with MLS begins. There are these within the enterprise who suppose this can be a catastrophe, however a worldwide subscription might make sense for a league that has world targets. Whether it is profitable, this might be the template that Apple may attempt to land extra video games.

Nevertheless, rights offers come up sporadically. And whereas Apple might be concerned within the NBA, for instance, they virtually definitely gained’t be capable to recreate an all-games-for-one subscription platform, just like the MLS.

4. When does ESPN go direct-to-consumer with all of its programming?

Inside the subsequent two years, ESPN is anticipated to be obtainable as a direct-to-consumer service.Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Pictures

That is occurring. It’s a matter of when, not if. Whether it is 2023, it’s going to doubtless be on the finish of the yr. By the top of 2024, I’d be actually shocked if this isn’t performed.

What does this imply? ESPN would nonetheless be on cable, however it could be provided to shoppers instantly with out cable. Not simply ESPN+, however a service that might will let you obtain all of ESPN’s huge programming

ESPN DTC would doubtless be priced between $19.99-$29.99 to start out. And, right here’s the kicker: It opens the door to a much bigger transfer to recreate its personal bundle with information, sports activities and leisure, utilizing all of Disney’s property.

5. What’s the way forward for Turner Sports activities?

With David Zaslav now in command of Warner Bros. Discovery, it’s unclear what Turner Sports activities’ technique can be in upcoming rights negotiations.Getty Pictures

I believe the reply proper now could be: Who the heck is aware of? New bosses are all over the place, from the highest of its father or mother firm in Warner Bros. Discovery — Zaslav — to the pinnacle of Turner Sports activities — Luis Silberwasser. So to behave as if this new Turner govt workforce will go about enterprise as traditional is just too huge an assumption at this level. Will it? It very nicely may, and it is going to be an enormous participant for years to come back with the NBA, MLB, NHL, March Insanity and golf. Nevertheless, it’s unclear the way it will form up going ahead as agreements have to be renewed?

May it workforce up with CBS on the NBA, prefer it does with school hoops? May it step again from new offers, starting with the NBA? Zaslav made it clear he can reside with out basketball if he doesn’t like what he hears from commissioner Adam Silver.

There are questions. Turner has at all times been a below-the-radar powerhouse in sports activities media. That is probably not the case quickly.

About Muji Sakawari

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