Why did CBS and Fox let a Peacock into the hen house?
After all, the National Football League and its commissioners, including the current one, Roger Goodell, once followed a mantra about making its games available to the “largest possible audience.”
Nonetheless, the NFL recently sold one primetime Saturday night (Jan. 13, 2024) Wild Card playoff game exclusively to NBCUniversal-owned streaming service, Peacock.
There are 13 total playoff games, making each one a sparkler, a most lucrative piece of NFL inventory. Peacock paid the NFL $110 million for the exclusive rights to the primetime Wild Card game. Imagine what a streaming service would pay the league for exclusive rights to a Conference Championship tilt?
Fans should recognize where the economics are headed. In order to watch that Saturday night game (unless you’re in the participating team’s markets) you’ll have to subscribe to Peacock. Consider this a test.
If it is successful, expect some NFL rights holders to press the league to put even more postseason games exclusively on the streaming platform. It’s not a reach to suggest Disney/ESPN suits are already exploring a plan to move an NFL playoff game exclusively to ESPN+.
With the addition of Peacock to the Wild Card sked, NBC outlets will present three playoff games the first weekend; ESPN, Fox, and CBS, one each. Interesting that NBC already owns “Sunday Night Football,” the NFL’s marquee property in terms of ratings, and is still given the opportunity to buy another playoff game to stream exclusively on Peacock.
The NFL’s new 11-year, $110 billion contract with its TV partners kicks in this season. Considering how quietly the Peacock playoff deal went down before it was announced, there must be other steaming “loopholes” in the contract.
It’s surprising CBS/Fox agreed to this new broadcast deal without closing any loopholes allowing the NFL to remove a game from the postseason package to auction off, exclusively, to a streaming service.
Yet when shoved up against a wall, CBS and Fox are not going to risk their contractual relationship with the NFL by pushing back on one streaming deal.
CBS got into the NFL biz in 1970 before losing the NFC contract to Fox beginning in 1994. CBS got back in the NFL biz, acquiring the AFC package in 1998. CBS and Fox, have been the home of Sunday afternoon “free football,” the primary rights holders for broadcast packages. Their schedule contained a variety of levels of quality, competitiveness and marquee value.
Nonetheless, the NFL can’t cash in on loyalty. While the league cannot discount the value of its long-term relationships with CBS and Fox, it can’t take loyalty to the bank.
And “loyalty” is certainly not getting in the way of the NFL making a deal.
WRONG PLACE FOR PEYTON
Peyton Manning was deserving of a Sports Emmy.
But not in the category he won it.
At the recent Sports Emmy awards show, Manning won “Outstanding Personality — event analyst.”
The other nominees (Gary Danielson, Cris Collinsworth, Bill Raftery and John Smoltz) are traditional game analysts. They work from a broadcast booth, dishing spontaneous, on-the-fly analysis, in nearly a non-stop manner.
They have to work seamlessly with a play-by-play voice while generating maximum chemistry. They must offer analysis in a few words without stumbling. Are they even judged by the same criteria as Manning?
While Peyton is entertaining, and works well with brother Eli, on ESPN’s Monday Night Football alternative “ManningCast,” he doesn’t have to analyze every play. He’s working in a more relaxed, aka soft, conversational manner — from his home. His mission is more about entertaining than analyzing. He has guests. He has time to spin football stories.
Manning did not belong in the same category as the traditional analysts. If anything, the Emmy committee should create a category called: “Outstanding Personality —Alternative Broadcasts.” That’s the category Peyton, Eli, Stephen A. Smith (SAS’s World), Michael Kay, Alex Rodriguez (KayRod Cast) and others would fall under.
Be fair. The hardcore, traditional analysts are in a league — and category — of their own.
MORE EXCUSES FROM KAY
In a recent self-serving soliloquy during his ESPN-98.7 afternoon radio show, Michael Kay lamented the “vast” number of national callers the program receives and how they are not counted in the ratings.
“We’re reaching more people nationally,” he said on the air. “But those people don’t have [ratings] meters. It stinks.”
What? Kay never played the national callers’ card when “The Michael Kay Show” was beating WFAN in the afternoon-drive ratings race. Yet now when the show is trailing the “Carton and Roberts” program the national thing is suddenly an issue?
Sounds more like a flimsy, very flimsy, excuse.
RODGERS TAKES A SCHEIN
Aaron Rodgers’ “Pat McAfee Show” connection has been established and well documented. But who knew the Jets new quarterback had a stop-and-chat link with SXM/CBSSN’s Adam (Nabob) Schein?
Fans of Schein’s SXM “Mad Dog Sports Radio” show knew. Since 2008, Rodgers has been on the Schein radio soiree at least two times per calendar year. So, Schein loyalists were not surprised when Rodgers did a 27-minute, wide-ranging interview, which aired (tape delayed) on Schein’s SXM show last Thursday. An excerpt aired on CBSSN’s “Time to Schein” last Wednesday.
Never-shy-Schein offered a simple reason why Rodgers has been such a willing participant: “He [Rodgers] genuinely likes me and the show. He knows I’m prepped. And I listen to his answers.”
AROUND THE DIAL
It makes for compelling TV when a voice is forced out of his comfort zone. Such is the case with Nelson Figueroa, who has joined veteran yapper Marc Malusis on WPIX-TV’s “New York Sports Nation Nightly.” While the show has only been on a couple of weeks, Figueroa, the former Mets pitcher, and Malusis, are establishing a chemical balance. It’s full of spontaneity too. These cats are wheeling and dealing. Especially when Malusis must quickly react to Figgy, the baseball guy, talking NBA, NFL, or a sports issue. … If you were wigging over the Yankees putting three of their last five games on streaming services you should share some of the blame. All sports franchises have been picking your pockets for years, aided and abetted by a media more interested in the outcome of games than the economic impact on you, the fan. There’s a solution: Stop watching. Stop paying. Stop enabling. … John (Pa Pinstripe) Sterling will miss the weekend series with the Padres and not make the upcoming West Coast swing because of an undisclosed illness. Sterling may return to the radio booth on June 6. Justin Shackil will fill in. Maybe Shackil can blow a few home run calls to make listeners feel at home.
DUDE OF THE WEEK: BEN ROETHLISBERGER
For showing contrition. On his podcast, Roethlisberger told his Steelers quarterback successor, Kenny Pickett: “Early on, I didn’t want you to succeed. … That’s selfishness in me and I feel sorry for that.” This just in: Big Ben has a conscience.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: MARCUS STROMAN
For making it personal. The former Mets — now Cubs — pitcher screamed and pounded his chest at the Mets dugout after getting Francisco Alavarez to hit into an eighth inning double play Wednesday night. Does Stroman have a beef with his former ‘mates? Or was he just being a jerk?
What Daniel Jones said: “Saquon (Barkley) has been a very important part of what we’ve done here…..I hope they can get something (a contract) done.”What Daniel Jones meant to say: “I took most of the money out of the pot. I hope there’s enough left for Saquon.”
Source: Berkshire mont