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Tony Dungy Objects To NFL’s Sportsbook Deals

“The league has now created relationships with seven sportsbook operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, Fox Bet, BetMGM, Caesars Entertainment, PointsBet, and WynnBet.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: The Rich Eisen Show

The NFL is slowly but surely embracing legalized sports betting, but one of its most prominent voices isn’t too excited about the league getting cozy with the vice. NBC’s Tony Dungy discussed the leagues relationship to sports betting on an open media call this week.

The NFL has now created relationships with seven sportsbook operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, Fox Bet, BetMGM, Caesars Entertainment, PointsBet, and WynnBet.

“I don’t know why the NFL changed its stance. My objection is just personal. I don’t think we should encourage people who are watching the NFL to gamble. Especially young people,” Dungy said. 

The seven new business partnerships will be a boon for the league as it recovers from the pandemic losses of 2020. Despite playing a full schedule of games, attendance restrictions hamstrung the league throughout the country last season.

“I’ve got boys,” Dungy continued. “I want them to enjoy the game for what it is … It’s a great game. And I know people gamble. I know it’s legal. I just don’t want to see the NFL promoting it. That’s just my personal opinion. I know a lot of people don’t agree with that.”

Dungy’s NBC teammate, Mike Tirico, agreed that the league and media partners need to be careful around the newly-accepted vice.

“The fact that it’s now legalized may legitimize the process a little bit,” Tirico said. “But I do think it can have an influence on younger fans. We need to be wise to that in general.”

Dungy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2016 and has worked on NBC’s Football Night In America since 2009. The wildly popular pregame show has positioned Dungy as a conscious of sorts for the league. Although, that consciousness isn’t enough to stop the tidal wave of sports betting money coming the NFL’s way.

Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

Jordan Bondurant

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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