New golf league TGL, backed by golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, said it will postpone the start of its inaugural season by a year after the dome it will play in collapsed last week. The TGL was planning to tee off Jan. 9. Now its first season won’t start till early 2025, the league said. ESPN acquired rights to televise TGL play.
The new distribution will provide NWSL fans viewing across linear and streaming each weekend. The four-year partnerships total a 40x multiple from NWSL’s previous deal.
ESPN said ESPN BET, the sports betting service run by Penn Entertainment, will launch Tuesday, Nov. 14. Teaser spots for the sportsbook feature SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt receiving alerts from the ESPN and ESPN Bet Apps. A full ad campaign will be rolled out closer to launch and also feature SportsCenter’s Elle Duncan. ESPN Bet will provide the odds used in ESPN content.
Walt Disney’s ESPN sports network could secure an enterprise value of $24 billion and attract investment interest from sports leagues, tech firms like Apple and telecom majors including Verizon, according to BofA Global Research. In a bid to lure an outside investor, the media giant last month disclosed the financials of ESPN that revealed declining sales and profit at the network considered to be the crown jewel of its traditional TV business.
ESPN Plus looks to add another big revenue punch to this year’s busy PPV boxing category with last Saturday’s (Oct. 28) Tyson Fury (pictured)-Francis Ngannou bout while looking to be opportunistic in the category next year. ESPN’s Matt Kenny says the company is bullish on PPV boxing in 2024.
A new ESPN facility in Bristol, Conn., has introduced dramatic new virtual set capabilities for the sports network, taking its production game to the next level. Pictured: Studio X, the SportsCenter set, showing the 45’ by 16’ LED “depth wall” that supports dynamic virtual production elements.
The sports unit had revenue of $16 billion and profits of $2.9 billion in 2022 — more than Disney’s entire entertainment business that year — as the company prepares a new financial reporting structure.
Longtime ESPN communications chief Chris LaPlaca will retire at the end of the year after spending more than 43 years at the company. ESPN Chair Jimmy Pitaro announced the news of LaPlaca’s impending departure earlier today in a memo sent to ESPN’s staff. LaPlaca, the company’s SVP/corporate communications, is the longest tenured behind-the-scenes employee currently at ESPN, having started there in July 1980 — only nine months after the channel first went on the air.
Charter CEO Chris Winfrey indicated that little progress has been made in the week-long carriage fight with Disney and said a leaner, ESPN-free TV bundle “could stick” with price-sensitive Spectrum customers. The exec updated investors on the epic distribution battle during a keynote session at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Tech Conference in San Francisco. “If I had anything material to highlight, I would,” he said of the negotiations. “So that should tell you something.”
The roller coaster of ESPN staffing news continued today, as NFL analyst Mina Kimes is set for what’s reported to be a massive new deal. The agreement is worth more than $1.7 million, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, and puts Kimes over seven figures for the first time.
ESPN scores second place primetime finish.
A tipping point for the broadcast industry is coming, and part of it hinges on a problem that Disney chief Bob Iger created for himself.
ESPN and 18 other Disney networks as well as ABC stations have gone dark across Spectrum, the No. 2 cable TV service in the U.S. Charter Communications, which runs Spectrum, and Disney had been locked in a distribution dispute since well before the U.S. Open tennis tournament began this week. In the coming days, college football and the NFL will kick off, potentially putting two massive sports properties on the list of programming unavailable to Spectrum customers. Along with the ESPN family of networks, the carriage fight also involves FX and a number of non-sports networks as well as ABC stations.
Wendi Nix, the host of College Football Live, has announced on Instagram that her time at ESPN has ended after 17 years. “Exactly 17 years ago, I walked into ESPN wide-eyed and excited. This week, I walk out the same way. Grateful, but equally excited about the next chapter. To be continued…” she wrote on the social media network. ESPN recently laid off about 20 on-air talents. Nix’s contract was expiring and not renewed.
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Atlantic Coast Conference football fans will be able to watch telecasts of their favorite team’s road games in local movie theaters under an agreement between cable […]
It has been an anxious summer in Burbank, Bristol and the rest of the Disney-ESPN empire thanks to ongoing cutbacks, movie box office disappointments and strategic uncertainties. Disney stock recently sank to a nine-year low. Help is on the way, though, as the U.S. Open Tennis Championships kick off Monday and college football and the NFL also deliver their annual fall injections of must-see live events.
Amazon has had early talks with Disney about working on the streaming version of ESPN it is developing, said people familiar with the matter. The tech giant could offer the service through one of its streaming offerings, helping to expand its distribution, while possibly also taking a minority stake in ESPN. Such an arrangement could shore up ESPN’s status as the biggest force in sports media, even as declining TV viewership and advertising, combined with rising sports programming costs, have squeezed the sports channel and Disney, its majority owner. It could also reposition the tech behemoth, which has been trying to make a dent in sports streaming, as more friend than foe to ESPN. And it could weaken the sports leagues’ bargaining power.
Disney Advertising said that commercial inventory on the U.S. Open tennis tournament is sold out. The event, televised on ABC, ESPN and ESPN Plus, has more than 20 sponsors and nearly 150 advertisers. Presenting sponsors include American Express, Cadillac, Evian, Fidelity Investments, Heineken Silver and IBM.
When the Longhorn Network launched in 2011, the 20-year, $300 million partnership with ESPN set up Texas with its own 24-hour television showcase that sent shockwaves across college sports some say can still be felt today. Twelve years after the studio lights flickered on, the network will soon go dark: LHN will be folded into the SEC Network when Texas joins the Southeastern Conference next summer.
Verizon is the latest player to have discussions with Disney about ESPN’s future. Disney has had preliminary talks with Verizon focused on creating a new ESPN streaming service. Verizon is already a key distributor for Disney, with deals that include a current one offering the Disney bundle (Disney+, Hulu with ads and ESPN+ with ads) for a discounted $10 per month to Verizon MyPlan customers.
With sports now a “golden goose” begetting streaming progress for Apple, it would be a “no-brainer” for the tech giant to partner with or even fully acquire ESPN.
Longtime SportsCenter co-anchor Sage Steele has decided to leave ESPN after settling her lawsuit against ESPN/Disney. “Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely,” Steele revealed Tuesday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!” Steele sued ESPN and corporate parent Disney in April 2022 for allegedly violating both her contract and free speech rights.
ESPN said it is moving its one-click, streaming multicasts of big sporting events to the featured section of the ESPN app on Apple TV and Xbox. The multicasts will also be available on the app’s ESPN Plus section.
In a major sports betting move, ESPN has cut a $2 billion deal with casino owner Penn Entertainment to launch ESPN Bet, a branded sportsbook. ESPN Bet will launch this fall in the 16 states where Penn has sports betting licenses. It will replace the Barstool Sportsbook.In connection with the deal, Penn will sell Barstool Sports, which it acquired in 2020, back to Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, and there is a noncompete clause among other restrictive covenants.
The sports-media giant talks to potential strategic partners, as it lays plans to stream its channel and scopes out a role in local broadcasting.
The sports juggernaut continues to earn billions of dollars for Disney, but profits are down and opportunities for growth have dwindled.
Add Mark Jackson to the list of ESPN reporters and commentators who have been laid off over the past five weeks. Jackson was let go on Monday with two years remaining on his contract. With Jeff Van Gundy also being laid off in late June, ESPN is expected to replace them with Doris Burke and Doc Rivers, two people close to the move told The Associated Press.
ESPN’s SportsCenter has long seemed like a bastion of guy TV. Not tonight. When ESPN viewers tune in to the 11 p.m. edition of the long-running sports-news program, they may see something a little different. The entire hour-long program will be anchored by women. ESPN die-hards will “see what’s important” in the world of sprots, says Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu who oversees ESPN CreativeWorks, which helped design the format.
The Disney-controlled channel is trying to find a way forward in the streaming age and has had discussions with the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball.
Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger shook up Wall Street Thursday when he told CNBC he’s open to finding a strategic partner for ESPN. Who could that be? Possible candidates include DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics, Amazon, Comcast, Saudi Arabia and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions.