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DOJ Appeals Ruling in AT&T Purchase of Time Warner

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The Department of Justice initially refused to approve AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner if the media giant didn’t agree to sell off either DirecTV or Turner. AT&T refused, saying that the nature of television and streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix make it impossible for a company like AT&T to have a monopoly and different revenue streams are necessary to remain competitive in the TV landscape.

Last month a judge ruled in favor of AT&T saying that in the new landscape of television the deal would not violate any antitrust laws. Hadas Gold of CNN.com says Judge Richard Leon, who presided over the case made it clear that his opinion is his ruling is pretty clear.

Using unusually strong language, Leon discouraged the Justice Department from asking him to put the ruling on hold while it considers an appeal. He said such a stay would be “manifestly unjust” because it would have the effect of killing the acquisition. The Justice Department did not seek a stay, and the deal closed.

Leon, though, also warned against an appeal, writing in his decision “[A]s my 170-plus page opinion makes clear — I do not believe that the Government has a likelihood of success on the merits of an appeal.”

That isn’t stopping the DOJ though. It is appealing the ruling to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three judge panel will hear arguments from both sides.

AT&T issued this statement.


The appeal could be fast tracked, not only because of the implications on this case, but because of what it would mean for Disney’s impending acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets.

From a sports standpoint, it remains to be seen what effects this might have. Time Warner’s streaming service B/R Live, it might be safe to assume, has entered a bidding war with Disney over the rights to the Italian soccer league Serie A assuming an influx of cash from a much more lucrative company like AT&T was on the way. It may also limit Turner’s ability to swing a deal with the NFL, which Turner has indicated it wants to do at the earliest opportunity.

Sports TV News

FOX Says NFL Ad Sales Up From 2021, ‘Record Pricing’ Expected for Super Bowl LVII

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Super Bowl 57

FOX shared some lucrative news with investors on its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. The network said sales for the NFL season are in a very short word: up.

FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said “We sold more NFL Sunday advertising in the current upfront market than we did across Sunday and Thursday combined in the prior year’s market.”

He also went on to note that didn’t include commitments made for the network’s presentation of Super Bowl 57 in February.

“This excludes advertising commitments for the upcoming Super Bowl, where we are pacing well ahead of schedule and seeing very robust demand and record pricing levels.”

FOX began selling Super Bowl 57 ads last summer.

Murdoch didn’t share specific numbers regarding Super Bowl sales but in comparison, NBCUniversal sold 3-second spots for upwards of $7 million this last February.

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl, and we’re well ahead of plan in terms of selling our Super Bowl positions.”

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Sports TV News

Potential Big Ten/ESPN Deal Did Not Include ESPN Plus Option

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN, BIG TEN

A shockwave went thru the sports media landscape on Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Big Ten would not be awarding a media rights deal with longtime partner ESPN. Since then, more details have come out about why the two might not be in business together after this season.

On The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, John Ourand added another piece of the puzzle that could offer some illumination. According to his reporting and sources, ESPN wanted to be able to offer Big Ten games on their direct-to-consumer streaming option, ESPN+ and the Big Ten didn’t receive that well.

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

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Sports TV News

Bill Spaulding to Become New Jersey Devils New TV Play-by-Play Voice

Spaulding will replace Steve Cangialosi on the MSG Network broadcasts.

Jordan Bondurant

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New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils will have a new TV play-by-play voice when the puck drops on the 2022-23 season in October.

According to sources, Ryan Novozinsky of NJ.com reported the team has hired Bill Spaulding for the job. Spaulding will replace Steve Cangialosi on the MSG Network broadcasts.

Cangialosi left as the team’s play-by-play man at the end of this past season. He had been with the team for 11 seasons.

Spaulding is a Syracuse University grad and has previously called Olympic hockey, as well as college games, on NBC. Additionally, Spaulding has experience calling college sports for ESPN. He’s a recipient of the Jim Nantz Award, which is given each year to the nation’s top collegiate sportscaster.

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