ESPN and Fox Sports had to come together if the heavyweight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury at the MGM Grand hotel this Saturday was to happen. And it’s also true that both networks are blanketing the airwaves this week like never before in an effort to get people to dig into their pockets for the $79.99 it will cost to watch the fight at home.
Advertisers have been slow to the table to support the newly-revived XFL league, which kicks off this weekend. Interest is finally stirring, according to ESPN and ABC, but uncertain audience engagement and the memory of past alternative pro-football league failures cast a shadow over its prospects.
The audience for the game, in which LSU defeated the defending champion Clemson 42-21 to complete the team’s undefeated season, was up 3% from last year’s Alabama-Clemson CFP National Championship telecast, which drew 24.3 million viewers, according to ESPN.
Monday night wasn’t the best of nights for the ESPN app. The much anticipated National Championship game between Clemson and LSU was malfunctioning on ESPN streaming services for most of the first half. Numerous fans took to social media to complain that when they logged into both ESPN+ and the ESPN app to access the game, they were met with an error message.
After 40 years as the voice of college hoops on ESPN, Dick Vitale seems to be just getting started. “I want to do this until I’m 100!” he says.
The NBA is throwing up bricks in national TV ratings over the first quarter of the regular season. A combination of big stars being absent from national telecasts, a marquee team mostly missing from the league’s two biggest broadcast partners and the fall of a recent dynasty have all factored into the drop. But there’s still time for the league to find its touch.
The sports network, part of The Walt Disney Co., has agreed to join the likes of NBC News in providing content for the soon-to-launch short-form video platform from Jeffrey Katzenberg, a onetime chairman of Walt Disney Studios and a founder of DreamWorks. ESPN’s contribution, a daily sports highlights show, is expected to air on Quibi at the platform’s scheduled launch in April 2020.
“The XFL has a good chance to become a small, viable opportunity for clients based on its WWE ownership backing,” says Adam Schwartz of Horizon Media. “I don’t think the XFL will ever become the NFL, but if the product is strong, it will get viewers to watch and, perhaps, to gamble on the games [and] that will draw more viewer interest.”
If the companies are unable to reach a new agreement, DirecTV subscribers could lose access to ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Freeform.
The NFL returned to the national spotlight on Thursday night, but it remains to be seen if TV’s biggest draw can continue the ratings renaissance it experienced last season. Television networks rely heavily on the NFL. Games and NFL-related programming accounted for 63% of Fox’s gross ratings points last season, according to MoffettNathanson. ESPN, CBS and NBC all got about a quarter of their aggregate gross ratings points from NFL content.
Some 42% of millennials say they’d be likely to subscribe to the offering of Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, a Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult survey finds.
Vince McMahon’s second try at the XFL announced its eight team names and logos on Wednesday. The rebooted league, which had an ill-fated attempt that lasted just one season in 2001, will begin play next February on the weekend following Super Bowl LIV.
Upfront ad sales spending by agencies reaches $2.4 billion. That’s about $300 million more than last season at this same time, and is largely because every one of those networks saw regular season ratings increases for their NFL telecasts last season.
ESPN sent a reminder to all of its employees on Friday that network policy is not to talk about politics unless they intersect with sports. The reminder came after talk show host Dan Le Batard criticized racist comments from President Trump and the network’s policy on politics in his show.
Dan Le Batard, the host of popular ESPN TV and radio shows, tore into both the president and his own network Thursday night. Tagging Trump’s recent rally actions as “un-American,” he also told his radio listeners that “we don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.”
Nielsen says a little more than 8 million people watched Tuesday’s All-Star game on Fox, enough to be the second-most popular thing on television after America’s Got Talent last week. The derby where sluggers flex their muscles a day before the game was televised on ESPN and reached 5.4 million viewers.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — For Tracy Morgan, hosting The ESPYs is personal. It’s not just another gig to the comedian. The star of TBS’ “The Last O.G.” will preside over Wednesday night’s show honoring the past year’s top athletes, performances and achievements. It airs live on ABC from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. “The main […]
CHICAGO (AP) — The National Women’s Soccer League has a television contract for the second half of its season to replace the partnership with A+E Networks that was cut short a year early by the broadcaster in February. ESPN announced Thursday that it will televise 14 matches in its first NWSL broadcasts since 2014. Eight […]
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots linebacker and ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi is recovering in a Massachusetts hospital after suffering a second stroke. His family says in a statement the 46-year-old suffered the stroke Thursday and immediately recognized the warning signs of arm weakness, face drooping and speech difficulties. Bruschi was admitted to Sturdy Memorial […]
Katie Nolan, analyst Jay Williams, Snapchat SportsCenter host Gary Striewski and Mike Korzemba, a YouTube influencer who specializes in basketball-related content, will hold forth on a special Game 2 broadcast available only on the ESPN App. ESPN is taking a swing at what is likely to be a growing challenge for sports purveyors of all sizes: A rising generation of viewers is growing accustomed to watching their games in a very different way.
It’s never happened before: eight co-champions closed out the bee after 20 rounds by spelling 47 consecutive words correctly. All eight received the full winner’s freight of $50,000 in cash and a new, custom-designed trophy, because E.W. Scripps simply could not come up with words difficult enough to challenge them.
ESPN’s deeper investment in Snapchat comes as other publishers like the New York Times and Bleacher Report have paused their channels. But for ESPN, producing shows on Snapchat aligns with its digital strategy of meeting sports fans in places they already are. Snapchat also has proven to be a useful way to make revenue and to direct viewers to ESPN on television and to content on ESPN+.
The results are in for the 40th annual Sports Emmy Awards. ESPN and NBC tied for the most trophies with six apiece, and their respective network groups also played to a draw with eight each.
First it was Turner Sports, then Fox Sports and now it’s ESPN’s turn. Sports media is betting big on sports gambling. ESPN announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with Caesars Entertainment to build a new ESPN-branded studio at its LINQ Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.