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DirecTV Spins Off From AT&T

NFL Sunday Ticket airs on DirecTV through the 2022 NFL season.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: DirecTV

AT&T has spun off DirecTV, adding more fuel to the NFL Sunday Ticket fire. According to Sportico, the standalone TV service’s enterprise value is $16.3 Billion following the move by AT&T. The telecommunications giant made acquiring NFL Sunday Ticket a breaking point in their negotiations to take over DirecTV in 2015, but that move seems to have backfired.

When DirecTV renewed its Sunday Ticket deal in October 2014, it agreed to up rates by 50%, signing off on a commitment to pay the NFL $1.5 billion per year on average through the end of the 2022 season. When looking at subscriber totals and doing simple math, it’s clear that DirecTV is taking a bath on that deal.

Insiders told Sportico the service has roughly 2 million subscribers paying for the $300 per season service. How much the service has helped combat advances from rivals like Dish Network is another equation entirely. DirecTV should hold onto the rights through the current agreement year of 2022, but sharks smell blood and have begun circling the property.

Sportico pointed to Apple and Amazon as the two media giants that could swoop in and add Sunday Ticket to their growing offerings on Amazon Prime and Apple+. The former is already fully vested with the NFL after the league granted them complete control of Thursday Night Football starting next season. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Apple CEO Tim Cook were spotted talking at the Allen & Co. tech and media conference in Sun Valley last month, but Apple hasn’t crossed the fifty-yard line on their live sports plans, let alone approached the endzone like Amazon.

Looming above them are Comcast and Disney, who could lump Sunday Ticket into their current sports offerings on ESPN+ and Peacock. All of these entities could be in a bidding war next year at this time, hoping the service boosts their subscriber number dramatically. Unfortunately for DirecTV, that strategy couldn’t keep Americans from cutting the chord over the last few years.

Sports TV News

Outside the Lines Won’t Return to ESPN Weekend Schedule

The show, which debuted in 1990, aired as a daily show from 2003 to 2019 and aired a Sunday-edition from 2000 to 2017.

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ESPN has decided to not return Outside the Lines to its weekend lineup, ending the show’s linear television run.

A report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal claims ESPN told OTL staffers that the show wouldn’t return to the network after the Super Bowl.

The show, which debuted in 1990, aired as a daily show from 2003 to 2019 and aired a Sunday-edition from 2000 to 2017. Outside the Lines was often regarded as the “moral compass” of ESPN, and was often the source of some of the more investigative reporting employed by the network.

Outside the Lines — which was airing at 9:00 AM on Saturday mornings — averaged 303,000 viewers in the timeslot. Meanwhile, SportsCenter: AM has seen an average audience of 572,000 in the same window.

The Outside the Lines brand will continue being utilized during the Noon ET SportsCenter, as well as ESPN digital platforms, including the network’s YouTube page.

Jeremy Schaap will continue to host the Outside the Lines segments during SportsCenter, but will also be the host of a new iteration of The Sports Reporters that will air on ESPN’s YouTube channel. Schaap’s father, Dick, was the host of the ESPN Sunday morning program from 1988 until his death in 2001. The show aired on ESPN from 1988 to 2017.

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Sports TV News

CBS: Calling Meeting With Tony Romo ‘Intervention’ is ‘Complete Mischaracterization’

“We meet regularly with our on-air talent.”

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An opening question in broadcasting circles is ‘What happened to Tony Romo?’, with even CBS reportedly pondering the issue.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast earlier this week, The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand claimed CBS attempted “an intervention” with its lead NFL analyst.

The intended mission of several alleged meetings with CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and CBS NFL producer Jim Rikhoff was to return Romo to his previous heights, which were widely regarded as the best NFL analyst in the business.

CBS Sports has responded to the insinuation that the meetings would be classified as an “intervention” with a strong denial.

“To call this an intervention is a complete mischaracterization, we meet regularly with our on-air talent,” CBS Sports spokeswoman Jen Sabatelle told Marchand

Marchand added that CBS Sports officials plan to attempt to rectify the issues it sees with Romo again this offseason. Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS Sports in 2020 — is slated to call Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 with Jim Nantz.

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Sports TV News

Cameron Maybin Joining Detroit Tigers TV Booth

“All of us at Bally Sports Detroit are energized about this upcoming season and watching all the excitement unfold.”

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After being dropped from the New York Yankees booth on YES Network, Cameron Maybin has a new television home with the Detroit Tigers.

The 35-year-old Maybin had three separate one-year stints with the Tigers during his 15-season big league career. Maybin was drafted by the franchise with the 10th overall selection of the 2005 MLB Draft.

A report from the Detroit Free Press adds that the Tigers will rely on Craig Monroe as its primary color commentator alongside play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard. Monroe played six of his nine MLB seasons in Detroit and was a member of the team’s 2006 World Series club.

Additionally, former Tigers relief pitcher Todd Jones will also join the broadcast crew on Bally Sports Detroit as an analyst for the 2023 season. Jones pitched for Detroit from 1997 through 2001 and also from 2006 through 2008.

“Tigers baseball is always a winner,” Bally Sports Detroit Senior Vice President and General Manager Greg Hammaren said Thursday in a statement. “All of us at Bally Sports Detroit are energized about this upcoming season and watching all the excitement unfold.

“Our crew behind the scenes and our engaging talent on camera are the best in the business. Starting with spring training, we are committed to bringing Tigers fans the absolute best coverage all season long.”

The news of Maybin and Jones joining the Bally Sports Detroit booth comes on the heels of the network failing to reach an agreement with Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris to return to the network. The Free Press report claims Morris was offered a reduced role with the television broadcaster, but declined.

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