WWE Launches No-Cost, Ad-Free Streamer

World Wrestling Entertainment announced Monday a free – and commercial-free – version of its streaming network, with access to over 15,000 titles. The service will offer recent episodes of programs such as Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and NXT, along with legacy pay-per-view programming and matches from the wrestling powerhouses’s Raw Talk, Monday Night War and Ride Along. Fans will also get free access to weekly highlights including Top 10 and The Best of WWE.

Sinclair RSNs President Jeff Krolik To Retire

Krolik, 63, managed the RSNs for nearly 15 years, and led the group during the sale from Fox to Disney and the subsequent sale from Disney to Sinclair.

English Premier League To Resume June 17

The most-watched sports league in the world will return, pending a sign off from health authorities, but will play in stadiums without fans and with stringent health protocols.

NHL Sets Return With 24-Team Playoff

The NHL still doesn’t know when it will return to the ice, but the league detailed its plan for how it will come back. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday said that when the NHL returns following its two-month hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic, it will be via a 24-team playoff tournament. Bettman confirmed that the 2019-20 regular season is officially completed.

PGA, NFL Stars Attract Nearly 6M Viewers

Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of The Match: Champions for Charity attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.

NBA Talking About Resuming Season In Orlando

The National Basketball Association is having what it terms “exploratory conversations” with the Walt Disney Co. about resuming its postponed season. The league issued a statement Saturday on its Twitter account. If the talks bear fruit, the season would resume in late July at Disney’s ESPN complex in Orlando, Fla., as a “single site for an NBA campus for games, practices, and housing,” the statement said.

ESPN, Tom Brady In Deal For Bio Series

After a towering rating success on the Michael Jordan 10-part documentary The Last Dance, ESPN is working with Tom Brady and Religion of Sports on Man In The Arena, a nine-episode multi-platform series coming in 2021. It will be Brady’s first-hand account of the most iconic moments of his NFL career.

McMahon Could Be Trying To Buy The XFL

As the bankrupt XFL looks for a buyer, the buyer could be its founder. XFL creditors “seem to believe” McMahon is positioning to buy the league out of bankruptcy. Separately, XFL President Jeffrey Pollack has contacted stadiums in Seattle and St. Louis about reinstating the league’s lease agreements.

Strong Sports Showing For Networks

Network executives knew the first weekend with multiple live events would draw good numbers but for the most part they exceeded expectations. The Bundesliga’s return drew record numbers on Fox Sports 1, Saturday night’s UFC card on ESPN was one of the top shows on cable television and Sunday’s NASCAR race on Fox was the most-viewed non-Daytona race in three years.

Michael Jordan Produced A Winner For ESPN

ESPN shot up a documentary that it believed would score big with audiences. How did it work out? In the words of ESPN NBA announcer Mike Breen: “Bang!” The Last Dance — ESPN’s 10-part documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls — was a smashing success for the network. It was critically acclaimed, generally adored by sports fans if Twitter is the judge and a ratings success. The original airings of all 10 episodes averaged 5.6 million viewers, making The Last Dance the most-watched documentary ever on ESPN.

ViacomCBS Faces Tricky Path To Super Bowl

In the early moments of the annual game to lure advertisers to the Super Bowl, ViacomCBS is first and long.

Signing 60 to 70 automakers, snack manufacturers and tech marketers to sponsor the biggest TV event of the year is never an easy task. But doing so will be tougher for the newly-merged media conglomerate, owing to a coronavirus pandemic that has thrown the sports business into disarray and forced advertisers to tighten their purse strings. ViacomCBS, which has the rights to broadcast the extravaganza in 2021, will have to reassure would-be Big Game sponsors about the NFL’s ability to mount a new season even as it tries to get the best prices possible.

NASCAR Returns To Big Ratings On Fox

The first live sports events on network TV in more than two months delivered strong ratings Sunday. Fox’s telecast of a NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C., delivered 6.32 million viewers, a 38 percent jump over the previous race on March 8. Like other major pro sports leagues, NASCAR shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. NBC also brought back live sports Sunday with a golf event, TaylorMade Driving Relief. Numbers for the four-man skins match, featuring Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, weren’t available at publication time.

Z Living Adding ‘Live With Martin Gramatica And Rock Riley’

Starting Monday, May 25, Z Living cable network is adding Live with Martin Gramatica and Rock Riley weekdays at 9-11 a.m. from the studios of WTMP Radio in Tampa, Fla. Since the show’s inception Gramatica and Riley have welcomed UFC fighter Michelle Waterson, USF ladies soccer coach Denise Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo, Denver NFL […]

Fox Sports Announcer Joe Buck Says NFL Games Will Use Fake Crowd Noise, Virtual Fan Images

KVVU Named Broadcast TV Home Of Las Vegas Raiders

NBC Sports Announcers Take Pay Cut

Fox News Debuts ‘America Cheers Together’

Fox News Channel on Thursday introduced a reoccurring segment as a part of the network’s America Together initiative entitled America Cheers Together, showcasing the unified and resilient American spirit through the lens of professional sporting events. Led by America’s Newsroom anchor Ed Henry, this ongoing series during the network’s three-hour morning news offering spotlights how sports have helped guide the country […]

Q&A

Imminent Impact of ATSC 3.0 On Live Sports

Synamedia is helping pay TV operators, telcos, and media companies change how they deliver, protect and monetize their content. In this interview, the company’s broadcast solutions manager, Mark Myslinski, highlights how NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) will be a game changer for the consumption of live sports, in particular with stand-out video quality, immersive audio, and uncontested broadband broadcast.

Brady’s Move Posed Challenges For Networks

“I can’t think of a single player move ever that adjusted requests and turned the process upside down as much as this,” said Fox Sports SVP Michael Mulvihill about Brady signing with Tampa Bay. “I think the league treated everyone well with Tampa Bay because they knew how great everyone’s interest was. It was a significant curveball.”

NFL Releases Schedule, For Now

The NFL released its 2020 schedule on Thursday, which came with a massive asterisk due to the uncertainty surrounding live sports amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will tentatively kick off the season on Thursday, Sept. 10, against the Houston Texans.

Fox News Promotes ‘Unifying’ Force Of Pro Sports Return

‘Cornhole Mania 2020’ To Air On ESPN, ESPN2

The American Cornhole League (ACL) announced Cornhole Mania 2020 will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2 on Saturday, May 9. The event will be held in Rock Hill, S.C., at the Rock Hill Sports and Events Center. The doubles competition is slated for noon to 2 p.m. ET on ESPN, with singles in primetime on ESPN2 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Sports Illustrated Studios To Bring Magazine To TV, film

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sports Illustrated is branching out into movies and television. Authentic Media Brands and 101 Studios announced on Tuesday that they will launch Sports Illustrated Studios as part of a joint venture between the two companies. The studio’s first project will be a docu-series entitled “Covers.” It will explore the stories behind […]

FuboTV Says COVID-19 Impact Will Be ‘Significant’

NFL Cancels International Games For 2020

The NFL canceled its international games for the upcoming season, announcing Monday that it intends to play all games in the United States. The league made the change as it continues to plan for the 2020 season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The NFL said it made the switch “in order for the entire season to be played in NFL teams’ stadia under consistent protocols focused on the well-being of players, personnel and fans.”

ESPN To Bring Korean Baseball To U.S. TV

The Walt Disney-owned sports-media giant, scrambling to fill its programming grid as most major U.S. sports leagues have suspended play, said it had struck a deal with Eclat Media Group to show six live 2020 regular-season games per week from the KBO League, South Korea’s baseball organization. One game will air each day, Tuesday through Sunday, generally on ESPN2 and on the ESPN App — but the telecasts will air in wee-morning hours, owing to the time difference between the U.S. and South Korean.

Will COVID-19 Break The Sports Media Industry?

Tens of millions of people are paying for basketball, hockey and baseball that isn’t being played. The Attorney General of New York this week demanded cable and satellite operators stop charging customers for live sports programs. Many of those companies, including Charter and Comcast, have said they would love to provide a refund. There’s just one problem: they are still paying for sports too.

ESPN Names Phil Dean New ‘Monday Night Football’ Producer

NFL, Amazon Extend Thursday Night Football

The NFL and Amazon have inked a multi-year extension to their Thursday Night Football deal, which sees the digital giant stream 11 games throughout the season. First signed back in 2017 and extended in 2018, the agreement sees Amazon show the games on digital via Prime Video and Twitch, with Fox retaining broadcast (plus showing in Spanish on Fox Deportes) and NFL Network handling cable.

Dish Seeks To Stiff ESPN Out Of Fees During Sports Moratorium

3-Day NFL Draft Averages 8.4M Viewers

Each day attracted record audiences. Thursday’s first round averaged 15.6 million, Friday’s second and third rounds 8.2 million and Saturday’s final four rounds 4.2 million. ESPN and NFL Network had a combined production all three days while ABC had separate telecasts Thursday and Friday before simulcasting the ESPN/NFL Network feed Saturday. ESPN Deportes also had a separate broadcast.

Fox Sports On-Air Talent To Take Pay Cut

Many of Fox Sports’ on-air anchors and analysts will take a temporary pay cut, largely in tandem with compensation decreases among top executives at parent company Fox Corp.,  which is, like many other media conglomerates, grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on operations.

Could Lack of Live Sports Doom Pay TV?

Advertisers Flocking To NFL Draft

Demand for advertising space during the NFL draft broadcast has reached unprecedented levels due to the growing popularity of the event and a lack of other live sports opportunities, Disney Advertising Sales said this week. The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out most of the U.S. sports calendar, but the three-day draft will go forward in a “virtual” format, with players participating from home, and be broadcast on Disney-owned ABC and ESPN starting on Thursday.

WJLA Adds Sports Anchor Olivia Garvey

Sinclair ABC Affiliate WJLA Washington (DMA 7) has hired Olivia Garvey as sports anchor. Garvey is making the move across the country from working at her hometown NBC station KMIR Palm Springs, Calif., in June. Garvey will anchor and cover sports news of the day and the Washington region’s pro, college and high school sports […]

Coronavirus Could Destroy $10B In TV Ads

The shutdown of sports due to the coronavirus pandemic is propelling a historic decline in U.S. TV advertising: Sales could be down by as much as $10 billion in the first half of the year. The projection, released Monday in a new report by digital research firm EMarketer, illustrates the financial pain facing U.S. broadcasters, particularly ESPN, CBS, Turner and NBC, which rely on live sports to boost their ratings and advertising hauls.

Broadcasters, Nets Brace For Sports Fee Surge

Sports rights are expected to go higher in the next three years despite pressure from COVID-19, possibly driving increased retransmission-consent fees and pushing poorer homes out of the pay TV bundle.

Horse Racing Gets More TV Time

Horse racing is one of the few sports ongoing, albeit in a limited capacity at a handful of empty tracks, but its TV presence has expanded because of the dearth of other options. The New York Racing Association helps produce America’s Day at the Races on Fox Sports, TVG has partnered with NBC Sports for a dozen hours of coverage each week and the hope is the struggling industry can stay afloat and gain more exposure during these trying times.

WCVB Adds Sports Reporter Christopher Gasper

Biggest Live-Sports Fans Still Watching

While there are no more live sports, the genre’s most die-hard audiences haven’t abandoned television, according to new Nielsen data. Instead, they are spending more time than ever watching TV, branching into several other genres — and still keeping a regular diet of sports content as well.