Even Fox Sports has a bottom line
Network may have to make a football choice
Good morning, all! It’s Frrrrriiiiidddaaaayyyyyyyy!!!!!!
Even Fox Sports has a bottom line, it seems. Stories are beginning to emerge that the network may drop one of its NFL contracts, when the deal expires. In this case, we are talking Thursday Night Football, which Fox took from NBC and CBS in 2019. It’s contract for TNF expires after the 2023 season.
Currently Fox carries two NFL packages: Sunday games and TNF. It pays the NFL $1.1 billion per season to carry the Sunday games. That deal ends after the 2022 season. It pays the NFL $660 million for the Thursday games. But as the networks (see ESPN and ABC News) continue to execute massive layoffs, due in major part to Covid-19 and technology’s shifting landscape, they are forced to pick-and-choose. Fox is no exception. Throw in the idea that the NFL will want more money for its rights, and Fox may not have a choice but to make a choice.
Fox chief financial officer Steve Tomsic is quoted as telling a UBS conference:
“If there is a choice between the two, (The Sunday package) is absolutely core to our hearts. The heritage of the company was built on Sunday afternoon football.”
The handwriting is on the wall and it says here just like other media entities, Fox is not immune to the current revenue environment.
Al Michaels to baseball Hall of Fame
NBC sports broadcaster Al Michaels, the networks voice for Sunday Night Football, has not broadcast a baseball game in 25 years. But the man who became synonymous with the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s gold medal with his signature call “Do you believe in miracles,” can broadcast baseball too. Long before his football prowess, Michaels called games for the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. He then expanded to the national stage, as the voice of ABC’s Monday Night Baseball and post season. Michaels, in fact, has called eight World Series.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Michaels, 76, is the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award winner for excellence as a baseball broadcaster. He will get a plaque on a wall in Cooperstown, where the Hall of Fame has set aside a small area devoted to broadcasters and writers. He joins a select crowd that includes Jack Buck, Dick Enberg, Curt Gowdy and Lindsey Nelson, who are in the broadcasters wing for both baseball and Pro Football.
It is no miracle that Michaels was dubbed this year’s winner. His credentials are as solid for baseball play-by-play as football. Congratulations to a great broadcaster.
Would the Rockies trade Arenado, Story to Yankees and/or Mets?
The Colorado Rockies are shedding salary, thanks to the pandemic. Former number one draft pick David Dahl - in the prime of his career - catcher Tony Wolters and pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez were not tendered contracts on Dec. 2. Rumors have abounded for some time that star third baseman Nolan Arenado could be had in a trade for the right price. And Nick Groke and Eno Sarris write in The Athletic (paywall) that star shortstop Trevor Story could be on the block, as he will become a free agent after 2021. Meanwhile, Colorado continues to downsize its analytics department.
Word is the Rockies would not want to trade Arenado to an NL West club. Might they entertain a megadeal with the Yankees that includes Arenado and Story? Or for that matter the now deep-pocket Mets? It would seem the Yankees matchup better for such a seismic trade, with their tacit admission that star infielder Gleyber Torres did not fill the bill at shortstop. They do have the talent, however, on their major league roster and in their system to meet the future needs of the Rockies.
If the Bombers were to make such a trade and re-sign free agent DJ LaMahieu, three quarters of their infield would be former Rockies. Toss in former Rockies outfielder Mike Tauchman and reliever Adam Ottavino and you would have Colorado east setting up shop in the Bronx. Then all they would need to do is sign Wolters and Dahl, both very serviceable players. I am not saying this is going to happen, but the window is closing a bit on the Yankees current roster, before they have won their much sought after 28th World Championship. It would not surprise me if the Yankees authored such a blueprint.
Majors invite minor league teams
The reorganization of baseball’s minor leagues by MLB has taken another step forward with MLB “inviting” the remaining minor league franchises to “join” the fold. Click here to find out the affiliations MLB will have with its MiLB brethren.
Incidentally, in case you missed it, my latest Sportscaster Dan podcast episode deals with how baseball’s winter meetings are not the same. Click here to listen.
Snowstorm in the northeast
The conditions are forming for a major snowstorm in the northeast on Dec. 16. Check out the latest by listening to the Brad Field Weather podcast, which I co-host. Just click on the podcast art below.
Well, that is it for this week. As always, thank you for your support and have a great weekend.