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Oregonian Story Paints Grim Picture For Pac-12 Network

“The majority of the PAC-12 Network’s 170 employees have been either laid off or furloughed as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

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Not only is the future bleak for the PAC-12 Network uncertain, it is possible that the public has never gotten a clear picture of its past according to John Canzano. The syndicated radio host and columnist for The Oregonian wrote a story about the network last week that indicated the media world never had much interest in the network.

“No media company wanted to partner with the Pac-12,” a conference official told Canzano. “ESPN declined. FOX, CBS, even the Discovery Channel declined. Nobody knows this.”

The story paints a picture of a network that is now reaping the consequences of painting a rosier picture of its viability than was ever true.

The majority of the PAC-12 Network’s 170 employees have been either laid off or furloughed as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. According to Canzano, those that have been furloughed have not heard a word from network or conference leadership in weeks. It has left the network with little ability to cover the abbreviated college football season the PAC-12 will launch next month.

The first six weeks of the season will be split amongst the networks of ESPN and FOX. Those weeks will include games that will kick off at 9 am local time in order to be included in FOX’s Big Noon Saturday programming block, a phenomenon that Canzano reports some within the conference have begun calling “Bloody Larrys,” in honor of PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott, whose leadership has lead to this debacle.

The championship weekend, where six games will be created based on divisional standings, is the only place there is an opening.

“That would leave the Pac-12 Network with a game or two, maybe, if it still wants to be in the football-broadcast business,” Canzano writes.

With basketball season set to begin in November, the PAC-12 Network will have some programming. It is contractually obligated to carry both men’s and women’s games. Outside of that though, it remains to be seen what is left for the PAC-12 Network. Canzano writes that it currently does not have writers, producers, or a social media staff in house.

The next media rights deal for the PAC-12 Conference begins in 2024. It has previously been reported that Apple might has shown interest in acquiring the primary TV rights for the league. That might be the only leverage the PAC-12 has in any future negotiations.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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