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Fox wants to keep NFL
But you are paying for it...
Good morning all. Hope you are well!
Reports are Fox is willing to increase its fee to carry the NFL to $2 billion per season. The network currently pays $1.08 billion per year. When Fox acquired the NFL package for the first time in 1994, it put the network on the map as a fourth major television network. It’s why it went after the package, and it’s not about to give it up without a fight. And expect a fight.
But here is the bottom line. Whether Fox keeps the rights or another network outbids them, we are paying for it. There is a sneaky line item on your cable television bill - at least on mine - that reads “TV Broadcast Fee.” This is separate from “Regional Sports,” the line item that covers ESPN, FS1 and other sports networks. That “TV Broadcast Fee” is siphoned off by the networks to help supplement the massive amounts of money they shell out to carry the NFL, NCAA basketball tournament, etc. And don’t expect Congress to rescue the cable television consumer. The industry donates big time to lawmakers.
Bottom line is, unless you have an over-the-air antenna that pulls in the major networks, you are paying for these networks to carry big games, even if you don’t have the regional sports package folded into your cable TV bill.
NFL tackles golf
My guess is the U.S. Open golf tournament won’t be scheduled again opposite the NFL. Forced to play this year’s event in September, because of Covid-19, the Open’s rating were like a slice off the first tee; down and out. (This is why Fox gave up the U.S. Open television rights to NBC) Sunday’s final round averaged a 2.0 rating and 3.21 million viewers, the lowest numbers since they started keeping records in 1987.
Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Stars and Lightening also took a check to the boards, getting a 1.1 rating and 2.12 million viewers Saturday night on NBC. This should not be a surprise. People are not tuned in to watching the climax of the NHL or NBA seasons in mid-September. Let’s face it, the real reason these leagues wanted to resume their seasons was to receive their television rights fees, regardless of ratings.
More baseball pink slips
The baseball industry continues to take a big hit because of Covid-19. On the heals of the Atlanta Braves announcing massive layoffs in their front office comes word the Red Sox and Phillies are the latest clubs to issue pink slips. The Red Sox laid off 10% of their staff, including director of publications Debbie Matson, who has been with the club for 34 years. Also gone is Gordon Edes, a former Boston Globe sportswriter, who moved to the Red Sox front office.
Baseball execs on the hot seat
It is the final week of MLB’s regular season and in my latest “The Sportscaster Dan Podcast,” I explain why I would be surprised if Ron Roenicke is brought back as Boston Red Sox manager. I also explain the baseball ops people who are on the hot seat and why the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners could be making changes.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton didn’t stand a chance
50 years ago to the day, Monday night football debuted on ABC, Sep. 21, 1970. The game featured the New York Jets - led by Joe Namath - against the Cleveland Browns. More than 85,000 fans jammed Municipal Stadium in Cleveland…
A cocktail from Tom Cruise?
Remember the movie “Cocktail,” starring Tom Cruise? He was flipping bottles and shot glasses like they were baseballs. Turns out Cruise learned how to do it from John Bandy, a renowned bartender in the LA area. How do I know this? Well, Alex Speier writes in the Boston Globe that Bandy’s son, Jett Bandy is a catcher in the Boston Red Sox system and proudly related the story to anyone who wanted to listen. Extra lime please?
Happy Birthday, Tommy
Happy Birthday, Tommy Lasorda. The former big league player and longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager turned 93 on Sep. 22. Lasorda was famous for saying he “bleeds Dodgers blue.”
That’s it for today. As always, thank you for your support and please spread the word about the newsletter.