Connect with us

Sports TV News

ESPN Began Airing The Last Dance Before It Was Finished

“According to Markazi’s story, The Last Dance director Jason Hehir was concerned about meeting the doc’s June deadline, let alone figuring out a way to complete an early release while needing to shelter in place.”

Brandon Contes

Published

on

The Last Dance took years to make, decades if you consider when the behind-the-scenes footage was filmed, but the highly anticipated docuseries still started airing before it was finished. 

Shortly after sports were shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of March, sports fans quickly began to clamor for an early release of ESPN’s The Last Dance. The 10-episode docuseries featuring Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was originally set for a June release, coinciding with the NBA Finals. Moving the release date up a couple months didn’t seem like an unreasonable request from fans, but ESPN said it wasn’t ready yet.

“I know some have asked about The Last Dance, and the reality is that the production of that film has not yet been completed, so we are limited there at the moment,” network EVP Burke Magnus told Variety in March. “Obviously, you can’t air it until it’s done.” 

When Magnus said it wasn’t completed yet, most fans likely expected some last-minute editing was needed, but nothing significant enough to prevent it from an early release. ESPN recognized the need and value of bumping up the doc’s premiere date, but as it turns out, it wasn’t even close to being finished.

“The first three episodes were complete and seven of the 10 episodes were in various levels of post-production when all non-essential business in New York was shut down on March 16,” wrote L.A. Times sports columnist Arash Markazi.

According to Markazi’s story, The Last Dance director Jason Hehir was concerned about meeting the doc’s June deadline, let alone figuring out a way to complete an early release while needing to shelter in place. 

On March 31, ESPN announced the new schedule for the Bulls docuseries, featuring a premiere date of April 19, airing two episodes every Sunday through May 17. Amazingly, only three episodes were ready to go, the ninth was completed May 1, with the finale scheduled to be finished May 10, just one week before its air date. 

Thanks to Zoom meetings and uploading videos on Vimeo, Hehir and his team of five editors were able to finish the documentary from their separate New York apartments, giving sports fans something to look forward to and consume for five straight weeks.

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.”

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.