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In the wake of Dick Ebersol's messy resignation from NBC Sports , we revisit the writings of a former NBC employee, who remembers Ebersol's failures being as legendary as his accomplishments. Everyone heard about Dick Ebersol's blistering critique of embattled late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien.
From high atop his 30 Rock tower perch, Ebersol said it was "chicken-hearted and gutless" of O'Brien to blame Jay Leno, "a guy he couldn't beat in the ratings," and characterized the situation as "an astounding failure by Conan. It seems the dictator of NBC Sports is immune to any return fire, but the irony of Ebersol's comments is the definition of ego run amok. Just days before Ebersol lobbed grenades at a man already negotiating terms of surrender talk about chicken-hearted and gutless!
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Perhaps most tellingly, the financial disaster is not due to advertising sales in the soft economy. In fact, Ebersol himself admitted it was due to overpaying for broadcast rights, a decision for which he is ultimately responsible. While the decision to pay such a staggering sum for a two-week event can be debated — and by the way, that monstrous price tag doesn't even include a worldwide Olympic sponsorship fee approaching nine figures that also gets added to the bill — a look at Ebersol's other NBC initiatives during the last decade show an executive clearly out of touch with the changing tastes of the sports world and the world at large.
In , Ebersol started off the decade with a mind-blowing decision. Incredibly, he decided to partner with contoversial pro wrestling magnate Vince McMahon on a legitimate sports league.
Unsurprisingly, within weeks, the football league had set a record for the lowest primetime ratings ever on a major network. If there's any question about his lack of long-term vision and cluelessness regarding contemporary culture, perhaps most indicative is the fact that NBC Sports didn't get around to launching its own sports site until the tail end of Think about that for a second.
Nbc Sports The Major League Baseball Television Rights Decision Case Study Analysis
By then, Youtube and Facebook were already major online destinations and over half the homes in the country had access to high-speed internet connections, yet NBC Sports didn't have its own site! Meanwhile, sports sites they would soon be competing with, including ESPN. Not surprisingly, NBC Sports has never caught up. It seems to be forgotten to history, but from , the major network aired a decidedly minor sport, hoping it would grow into a valuable sports property.
Not surprisingly, the ratings were miniscule with the average rating around 1. The only bright side? NBC didn't pay any rights fees.
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But neither did it generate much profit. Because there's such a clamoring for Olympic sports in non-Olympic years, NBC Sports launched a cable network devoted exclusively to those events. It's a big moment, but it's also a small first step … The new micro-transaction offerings on League Pass will deliver more customized experiences to meet the needs of NBA fans … Instead of waiting to watch highlights after a game, fans will be able to enjoy a portion of a game in real-time.
NCAA 5 , who may only want to purchase a particular half or quarter of a game, based on their individual wager. As David Levy, President of Turner, noted 7 :. The NFL-Verizon deal includes pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, including the Super Bowl, and provides access to fans nationwide. We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience. Under the terms of its recent deal with Amazon, for the regular season, Amazon is offering eleven 11 Thursday night games for free to its Amazon Prime subscribers, through its Amazon Prime Video app, and through its Twitch app, which is available on mobile devices, Xbox One, and PlayStation.
Overall, these streaming options dramatically expand the reach of NFL in-market and nationally televised games. During the first three 3 weeks of the NFL regular season, Yahoo set records for app usage, with compound growth week after week.
A timeline of the never-ending Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute
However, neither league has yet offered an innovative approach to its streaming services, as the NBA has done with its Turner fourth 4th quarter deal or the NFL with its Verizon deal; fans of both leagues may only purchase a monthly, yearly, or team-specific subscription, for a defined cost. From a legal standpoint, such new partnerships in the OTT market pose challenges for attorneys representing all sides in such transactions.
In crafting such OTT partnerships, the various parties need to address the following legal issues:. Whose Responsibility is it to Secure Clearances : Clearances need to be secured for athletes and the music used in the produced game, in order to distribute the telecast in the OTT market, with the league usually securing athlete clearances, but the producing partner usually securing music clearances for the OTT distribution;.
- A timeline of the never-ending Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute.
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What Warranties Are Being Issued : Between distribution partners, certain warranties are issued for in-game elements such as a quitclaim or absolute representation , with the OTT partner having more leverage, usually delivering less robust warranties to the other party;. Licensing of Trademarks : Are trademarks being licensed royalty-free from the league or does a streaming partner need to pay royalties for the use of trademarks in the OTT market; and.
These two types of approaches offer a roadmap for what the OTT landscape will look like in the future — not just for the US major professional sports leagues, but potentially for European soccer, college football, and Mixed Martial Arts MMA , among others.
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Overall, innovation is increasing in the OTT market and this is great news for fans, who are receiving expanded access and availability to content, in preferred formats, at reduced prices. In one of the more prominent recent non-sports naming rights agreements, Rich represented the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in San Francisco in a transit center naming rights transaction with Salesforce. She specializes in the representation of professional sports leagues, teams, media and technology companies, investors, promoters, hospitality companies and sports, entertainment, and lifestyle agencies.
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