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WWE Wants To Follow Marvel Model

WWE is leaning more and more into an entertainment business model.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: WWE

Marvel laid the groundwork, and WWE is following the blueprint. Sources have told Front Office Sports that the wrestling giant sees a similar growth plan between the two companies.

“At first glance, WWE’s a wrestling company. But it’s really a media/content company with a treasure trove of IP that appeals to young demos,” the source told FOS.

Marvel wasn’t always the titan it has grown into today; the company only recently capitalized off of wildly popular comic book IP. 2008 is a fork in the road for the company when it released “Iron Man” in theaters. The film kicked off their decade-plus run of entertainment dominance. Now sources around the sports industry believe WWE is trying to capitalize on its content in the same way.

2020 was a record year for WWE, even with the pandemic. The company’s programming now reaches 900 million homes worldwide, and the company posted record revenue of $974.2 million last year. A big marker in its growth has been the new deal with NBC Universal’s Peacock. The streaming service unveiled the new partnership around Wrestlemania 37 and sparked the night into its most-watched live event ever. The five-year, $1 billion deal with Peacock helped bolster the streaming service’s subscriber numbers.

The relationship with Peacock includes the WWE Network in the streaming service’s library. Fans even got a discount on pay-per-view matches with the inclusion. Customers buy pay-per-view fights for $4.99, compared to the WWE Network’s $9.99 price point.

WWE has also added voices from outside the wrestling world to help lead the company. Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini became the third woman to currently hold a board position at the media and entertainment company last October. 

Yesterday the company announced the hiring of Jamie Horowitz as WWE’s new executive vice president of development and digital Tuesday. Horowitz previously worked as the executive vice president of global content with DAZN streaming service since 2018. Step by step, WWE is leaning into their identity as an entertainment brand above all.

Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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