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Amazon Prime Partners With USTA

Jason Barrett

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Amazon Prime and the USTA agreed to a five-year partnership, giving the video-platform exclusive broadcast rights of the US Open Tennis Championships in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“This new partnership allows the USTA to showcase our live and on-demand content to Amazon Prime members throughout the U.K. and Ireland,” said Lew Sherr, USTA Chief Revenue Officer. “We are excited to market the telecasts via Prime Video and provide fans more ways to watch tennis matches.”

Amazon, like many other streaming platforms, has put an emphasis on acquiring live sports content.

“We are proud to partner with the USTA to add the US Open to the growing portfolio of sports available on Prime Video,” said Alex Green, Amazon Prime managing director of channels and sports in Europe.

Prime members will require no additional charge to view the US Open. Consumers will be able to access the tournament on more than 600 connected devices via TV’s, game consoles, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and mobile devices.

The time difference makes it difficult for U.K. tennis fans to watch prime-time matches live, but the partnership was announced as Amazon receiving exclusive rights to both live and on-demand content of the 2018 US Open which takes place from August 27 to September 9. It will be interesting to see how the non-Prime subscribing fan-base reacts should Andy Murray or another local favorite advances to the later rounds of the tournament.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Kevin Negandhi: I’m the Same on SportsCenter As I Am In Real Life

“I’ve always just tried to find that blend where I can be respectful for the audience and have a good time and have fun delivering highlights.”

Ricky Keeler

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Kevin Negandhi has been one of the hosts of the 6:00 PM ET SportsCenter on ESPN over the last few years. Even in this prominent role, Negandhi takes great pride in making sure the viewer is being entertained and getting an escape from the real world, at least for an hour.

Negandhi was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and Schein asked him how he would describe his broadcast style. He wanted to make it clear that if you met him on the street, he is the same person that you see on ESPN.

“I’m the person that you would meet casually, I’m the same person on TV. I’ve always said that I represent not just my family, not just where I’m from, I represent the passion of the great area and region that is Philadelphia. When you see me on TV, I feel like I’m letting you into a conversation I would normally have with you if we were talking about something. You are here for an escape, let’s talk about it because I got in the business because I passionately love sports. It was my connection with my family growing up. Connection with my family still to this day. It’s kind of like get in with us.”

Whenever Negandhi is hosting SportsCenter, he told Schein he tries to find a good mix of giving the highlights and the news while also understanding that the viewer is looking to be entertained as well.

“I’ve always just tried to find that blend where I can be respectful for the audience and have a good time and have fun delivering highlights and delivering the news and making sure you are entertained but at the same time understanding that I’m having fun with you while you are watching us as an escape.”

One other broadcaster that stands out for not being just a broadcaster according to Negandhi is Scott Van Pelt because Van Pelt is comfortable being himself and doesn’t have a filter.

“Scott Van Pelt really stands out to me because when you watch Scott, there is no filter with Scott. He’s not a broadcaster. Scott is Scott and he is comfortable in his skin.”

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Sports TV News

MLS Season Pass Debuts on Apple TV

The first MLS season begins on Saturday, February 25th, with Nashville SC taking on New York City FC. All matches will be available for free during the first week of the season.

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MLS Season Pass on Apple TV debuted to much fanfare for Major League Soccer fans Wednesday.

Fans from around the world will be able to watch every MLS contest as the launch of the service begins the streaming platform’s 10-year, $2.5 billion media rights contract with the American soccer league.

With the debut of the service, most MLS games will now take place on Saturdays and select Wednesdays with 7:30 PM local start times.

MLS Season Pass will feature several prominent soccer voices, including analysts Taylor Twellman and Cobi Jones, play-by-play man Max Bretos, and studio host Liam McHugh.

The MLS season begins on Saturday, February 25th, with Nashville SC taking on New York City FC. All matches will be available for free during the first week of the season.

The streaming service will cost $14.99 per month or $99 per season, with existing AppleTV+ subscribers being offered the package at a discounted price of $12.99 per month or $79 for the season.

MLS Season Pass launches on a wide range of viewing platforms. Not only is the service available on televisions, smartphones, and tablets, but it can also be viewed on smart TVs, computers, and video game consoles.

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Dropped By YouTube TV

“MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.”

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After contract negotiations stalled, YouTube TV dropped MLB Network from its channel lineup.

“We apologize for the news and will continue conversations with the MLB to advocate on your behalf, in the hope of restoring their content on YouTube TV,” an email to YouTube TV subscribers said.

MLB Network was previously included in YouTube TV’s $64.99 per month plan before being dropped Tuesday.

Spring Training for MLB franchises begins on February 24th.

“With Spring Training about to start, we regret that YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement,” an MLB Network spokesperson told Barrett Sports Media. “MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.

“With the great demand and value for live baseball content, Major League Baseball’s commitment to MLB Network now and in the future is stronger than ever before, and we remain open and committed to reaching an agreement with YouTube TV as soon as possible.”

YouTube TV has gone through several carriage disputes in the past, with most — like those with NBCUniversal and Disney — being resolved after short disruptions to subscribers.

Viewers affected by the decision from YouTube TV can go to findlmbnetwork.com to see alternative options.

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