Branding the World of Sports

Archive for the ‘TV Rights Deals’ Category

2011 NCAA Tournament will show all games live

Posted by ZA on April 23, 2010

Every March Madness fan hates when the game they are watching gets switched to some other game that they care nothing about.  It often seems as if the producers at CBS were throwing us around from game to game just to play God with our emotions.  Well no more, because starting in 2011 every college basketball fan will be able to watch all NCAA Tournament games live on basic cable.

The $10.8 billion extension that the NCAA and CBS just reached for broadcast & internet rights also included Turner Broadcasting System.  CBS and Turner’s joint bid will let them air games from all four regions of the tournament on four separate channels.  Starting with the 2011 NCAA Tournament you can tune into CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV to watch games.  Which means that every game will be shown live and available to all college hoops fans with basic cable.  This was a great move by the NCAA and television execs, one that makes me very happy as a fan.

Posted in CBS, College Basketball, College Sports, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ESPN deal means College Football playoff is coming

Posted by ZA on November 19, 2008

If you are a huge college football fan (like me) who has been waiting for college football to institute a playoff system, then today is your lucky day. Because the first domino has fallen in what will be a series of events that lead to a college football playoff.

The BCS and ESPN inked a deal to give ESPN television, radio and internet rights to four major BCS Championship games from 2011 to 2014. ESPN will now broadcast the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and BCS National Championship Game. The Rose Bowl is the fifth BCS game, and already locked into a deal with ESPN’s parent network, ABC Sports.  ESPN is paying $125 million per year for the rights, which is 50% higher than what Fox is currently paying.

ESPN’s access to 98 million homes is slightly less than network television, but it is their commitment to total sports programming that will be the catalyst.  The old boys network that controls bowl games is starting to get long in the tooth anyway, but with ESPN pushing forward changes are going to happen quickly.

Here are the steps that I said must happen for ESPN to get us to college football playoff:
1. ESPN lands BCS television rights. DONE
2. BCS adds “plus one” championship game. PENDING
3. BCS expands to add new bowl games including Cotton Bowl. PENDING
4. BCS develops an 8-team playoff to decide the National Championship. PENDING

The accelerator in this deal in ESPN, although it doesn’t hurt that President Obama is going to “throw (his) weight around a little” behind the idea of a college football playoff. ESPN is a year-round sports network, so they can sell advertising behind programming developed to highlight a college football playoff. ESPN will carry the torch to get a playoff, because they stand to benefit the most from it. Fox never had that incentive, because their sports programming was just one facet of their lineup.

In addition being the creator and driving force behind a college football playoff earns ESPN another place in history of sports. They helped create what will become the greatest sporting event on the country, surpassing the Superbowl in popularity and television viewership. Because the combined viewers of a playoff will be more than one game Superbowl, or any other sporting event in US soil.

Plus, you don’t think that ESPN wants what CBS has? March Madness is the biggest sporting event on television dial each year, and ESPN gets stuck with the NIT (aka: the second banana). This is their chance to create, market and profit from a marquee sports event. And the first domino just fell…a college football playoff is on the way.

Posted in College Football, ESPN, TV Rights Deals | 1 Comment »

BCS moving to ESPN/ABC to start a playoff

Posted by ZA on November 3, 2008

It appears the days are numbered for Fox’s rights to broadcast college football’s top bowl games.  The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is asking $800 million dollars for Fox to retain the rights to broadcast the four BCS games; the BCS Championship Game, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl.  ABC already holds the broadcast rights for the 5th BCS game, the Rose Bowl.

The BCS is asking Fox to up their annual spend from the current $82 million per year up to $132 million per year.  The theory behind that dramatic increase is that doing so will cause Fox to balk, which will then allow the BCS to solicit bids on the open market from other networks.  The favorite to win a bidding war on the open market?  ABC/ESPN who would then hold the rights to all of the major bowl games, and have the ability to play some on ABC and others on their cable sports juggernaut, ESPN.

The reason the BCS will select ABC/ESPN over Fox?  Money.  Not only will they be able to bid the two entities against each other to get a richer deal, but ultimately landing with ABC/ESPN increases their exposure.  ESPN is a dedicated sports network that will continually run promotions for the BCS series throughout the year on in-game programming and Sportscenter.  ABC also already owns the rights to broadcast college games, which Fox does not.  The increased exposure for the BCS will add up to much larger sponsorship dollars. 

Once that happens I expect the next major change for the BCS to be the announcement of a college football playoff.  One that will initially start as a plus one game after the four major bowls are played (Fiesta, Orange, Rose & Sugar), but will eventually expand.  The expansion will add the Cotton Bowl, played at Jerry Jone’s new stadium, as the 6th BCS bowl game.  The expanded BCS will now be able to seed the top 8 teams entering the bowl season and have them play a winner take all knockout format.

The reason the BCS will morph into a playoff format?  Again, money.  The thing holding back a playoff format right now is the old guard from the bowl games.  They are concerned their games will be made irrelevant by a playoff and still have enough power to stand in the way of that progress.  But that old guard won’t always have that much clout and eventually the system will change because a playoff series in college football is what the fans want.  And in this case that “want” translates into lots of dollars for the BCS.  Higher TV ratings, more tickets sold and bigger sponsorship opportunities are what will ultimately get us a college football playoff.

Posted in College Football, ESPN, Fox, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | 1 Comment »

Watch SEC football live from your computer

Posted by ZA on September 12, 2008

As part of the record television contract that the SEC signed with CBS Sports last month, SEC football games will be simulcast live online.  Viewers can watch the SEC games for free at  The ads shown during the live simulcast will be the same ads shown to television viewers of that SEC game.  There will be a pre-roll video ad spot when a viewer first logs on to watch the game.

The current deal with CBS is just to stream 17 football games per year, not every SEC football game.  I imagine that they will expand this in future years to cover more SEC games.  Eventually you will be able to see SEC game being played, although the quality of the broadcasts will be poorer on those where a CBS television crew isn’t doing an on-site broadcast.  They will also have to jump through some hoops to make sure that no games broadcast on the internet have permission from ESPN and other rights holders, who broadcast SEC games.

Posted in CBS, College Football, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »

Watch NFL games live on your computer

Posted by ZA on July 28, 2008

The NFL and NBC Sports agreed upon a deal that will allow and to stream NFL games live on the internet.  This deal is the first time that NFL games will be broadcast over the web and is a big step forward for the league in embracing the power of the internet.  The NFL has lagged behind other leagues in moving their broadcasts to the web, particularly Major League Baseball who’s MLBAM (Major League Baseball Action Media) subsidiary has been broadcasting baseball games on the web for years.

The NFL broadcasts will only include the 17 NFL games that NBC Sports has the rights to televise, including their wildly popular Sunday Night Football games and the opening game of the year between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins.  The regular television advertising will “most likely” be removed so that and the NFL can split the revenue created by selling new advertisers on the web only broadcasts.

According to the SportsBusinessJournal article the league’s other television partners (CBS, ESPN & FOX) were not happy to not be included in this type of deal.  A network source said, “The right to stream games was not in any of the contracts we signed.”

This streaming deal is great news to married guys across America who can now spend quality time with their wives on Sunday night, watching the game on their laptop while their wife watches Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy.

NFL Sunday Night Football logo

Now you can watch NFL Sunday Night Football broadcasts online.

Posted in Internet, NBC, NFL, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »

Five more years of Notre Dame Network

Posted by ZA on June 20, 2008

Notre Dame has signed a 5-year contract extensionwith NBC that will have the peacock broadcasting Irish football games through 2015.  That deal includes 8 Notre Dame games per season, including one game that will be played on NBC prime time.

Obviously someone at NBC is banking on Charlie Weis turning things around, because Notre Dame had to air some absolutely stinkers last year to fulfill their commitment to the Irish.  Last year NBC averaged an ugly 1.9 ratingon their ND broadcasts. Another 3-9 Notre Dame team is not going to have advertisers scrambling to be included in Notre Dame games.

No word on how much NBC paid for this new deal, but the original deal between NBC and Notre Dame from 1991 was projected to be around $9 million per year.  This new deal would be richer than that because it includes more games per season. 

Posted in College Football, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »

Tennis Grand Slam to be televised by Worldwide Leader

Posted by ZA on May 12, 2008

ESPN and the Tennis Channel have come to an agreement with the USTA to televise all four tennis Grand Slams.  The deal is a six-year agreement reported to be worth $140 million dollars.  This will be the first time that one US network has owned the rights to televise all four Grand Slams.

First NBC doesn’t renew Bud Collins contract to cover tennis for the peacock, and now NBC loses “Breakfast at Wimbledon“.  I guess televising tennis is not part of their future plans.  Maybe now they’ll have more broadcast time for Arena Football and the Olympics.

Bud Collins outfit
Which ESPN analyst is going to wear the goofy outfits at Wimbledon?
(Photo courtesy: BudCollinsTennis)

Posted in ESPN, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | 2 Comments »

Bobcats arena now called Time Warner Cable Arena

Posted by ZA on April 9, 2008

The Charlotte Bobcats landed a major deal today with Time Warner.  The Bobcats home arena will change from Charlotte Bobcats Arena to the Time Warner Cable Arena.  No figures were released on how much Time Warner is paying for the venue naming rights deal.

The deal also calls for the Bobcats games to be televised on Fox Sports Net, which will get them better exposure within their home state.  Charlotte stated this is the first deal that included both venue naming rights and TV rights in the same package.

Aside from being the home of the Charlotte Bobcats, Time Warner Cable Arena also plays hosts to many concerts and is the home for Charlotte Checkers, a minor league hockey team.

Official site for Time Warner Cable Arena.

Posted in NBA, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Leave a Comment »

Strike two for BBC on Champions League

Posted by ZA on March 26, 2008

A week ago the BBC lost out on broadcast rights to Champions League football when Sky Sports outbid them.  And now BBC loses out on their bid to win the rights to UEFA Champions League games.  ITV retains the rights to the UEFA Champions League games through through 2012 by paying over $100 Million dollars per year.

Posted in Soccer, Sports Marketing, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »

BBC ready to break the bank for Champions League

Posted by ZA on March 5, 2008

Soccer is the most popular sport in the World.  And the top soccer league, in the top sport in the World, is getting ready to cash in big on their TV rights.  England’s Champions League is currently soliciting bids for the rights to broadcast their games in 2009-2010.  The two most likely candidates are ITV and the BBC, with the latter looking like the favorite.  The BBC has emerged as the favorite, over incumbent ITV, because of their willingness to pay almost $800 Million dollars for the TV rights to Champions League games.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper the top execs at BBC are “desperate to wrest top European football from ITV”.  And BBC’s bid echoes that sentiment as they offered 3.5 times what ITV is currently paying for broadcast rights to the Champions League.

ITV is Independent Television station that was spefically setup by British television broadcasters to rival the BBC.  And it seems as if their ownership of Champions League Soccer has gotten under their skin.  So the best way to strike back at ITV?  Steal back what was once yours.

If the BBC bid for Champions League does go through it will make the English soccer league the second most expensive broadcast rights in television, trailing only the National Football League.  The NFL is paid approximately $3 Billion dollars per year by Fox, CBS, NBC, ESPN & the NFL Network, for the rights to broadcast NFL games.

Posted in NFL, Soccer, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »