In the News

What others are saying about sports programming and coronavirus

  • Will Coronavirus Break the $50 Billion Sports Media Industry?

    Sports leagues and teams fund their operations with money they get from TV networks. The TV networks can afford the rising cost of live sports by charging pay-TV operators higher fees to carry them. Pay-TV operators then pass along the costs to the customer. But for cable operators to refund customers, they would need to convince networks to refund them. Otherwise, they lose a fortune. If the networks refund the cable operators, they would then need to ask the leagues to refund them.

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  • Coronavirus: Will You Get a Sports Channel Refund?

    The channels’ inability to deliver what they promised has triggered speculation that cable and satellite TV operators will refuse to continue paying the same carriage rates. And the pay TV ops would then in turn pass the savings along to their customers in refunds.Why wouldn’t ESPN, and other sports channels, simply agree to reduce their carriage fees under the circumstances? They can’t because they must pay the sports leagues for the rights to carry the games. And the leagues, which are hurting financially now like everyone else, have no interest in doing that.

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  • Why you’re still paying for sports on cable when there’s no live sports

    Cable refunds must wait for negotiations involving leagues and broadcasters.Complicating matters is the sheer number of parties involved in live-sports contracts. Individual teams in the NBA, NHL, and MLB sell the rights to their games to regional sports networks, which in turn sell the rights to carry their channels to cable, satellite, and streaming TV providers. In addition to individual teams, the major sports leagues have big contracts with programmers for games that are broadcast nationally instead of just in the regions where the participating teams are located.

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  • Millions Are Paying for Cable TV Sports Networks That Don't Show Live Sports

    Roughly $20 of a standard monthly cable bill can be attributed to live sports programming, for which companies like Disney’s ESPN, AT&T’s Turner and Comcast’s NBC Universal pay billions of dollars each year.If major sports leagues are completely canceled, it is in the realm of possibility that these leagues will eventually refund TV fees to the programmers. But with the uncertain nature of this pandemic, it is still a wait-and-see approach for the most part. And cable TV customers awaiting that refund will continue to feel that is like a distant dream.

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  • Rutledge: Sports Cost Relief is Up to Networks, Leagues

    “There is still a big question of whether the games will be played, and if they are played, most likely the cost will not be rebated to the customer,” Charter Communications chairman and CEO Tom Rutledg added. “At this point in time we have a structure in the industry of how we pay for content. It's all bundled together and tied together contractually, and we have very little control over it directly. We’d love to see our customers relieved, if they can be. Ultimately, it’s the athletes who are getting the money. At some point somebody has to give up their money to give it back to the customer. That hasn’t happened yet.”

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  • ESPN reportedly has until Sept. 2021 to make up promised events as per contracts, a hurdle for those demanding sports fee rebates

    There’s been a lot of buzz around the idea of sports networks refunding distributors who then refund customers for per-subscriber fees thanks to the current lack of live sports, but John Ourand of Sports Business Journal has poured some significant cold water on that, particularly in the case of ESPN. But as per Ourand, their contracts may provide them some significant protection, as their event promise is reportedly over a 12-month period, and even if they missed that target, they’d have another six months (until September 2021) to remedy the situation before distributors can start seeking rebates under the contract.That’s significantly different than the regional sports networks, which teams have agreed to provide a certain amount of games to each year and which have in turn agreed to provide that number of games to distributors. But Ourand notes that it’s also unlikely that the RSNs “will provide full rebates to distributors,” as most of the NBA and NHL games this season were played. This could change depending on what happens with MLB and with the planned resumption of the NHL and NBA seasons.

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  • NCAA committee recommends six-week calendar to start 2020 college football season on time - CBSSports.com

    The NCAA College Football Oversight Committee will submit a detailed four-phase plan next week for football activities to begin in mid-July. The committee will recommend that coaches begin interacting with players on July 13 with training camp starting on Aug. 7.

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  • Positive COVID-19 tests among Cowboys, Texans are giving NFL coaches pause on 2020 season | Sporting News Canada

    "Positive tests are going to happen," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted Monday in a conversation with Mike Greenberg for ESPN's The Return of Sports special. "The issue is, can we obviously prevent as many of those from happening, but in addition, treat them quickly, isolate them and prevent them from directly impacting our player personnel. "So none of those players were in the facilities. All of those players, fortunately, have had either mild symptoms or are asymptomatic."

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  • We're living through the longest professional sports drought since 1918 - Axios

    Today marks 103 days since the last MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL game — the longest such drought since the fall of 1918, when the World Series was held in September amid WWI and the Spanish flu.Meanwhile, abroad: Multiple countries have seen major sports return. The world's four biggest soccer leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany) are back; baseball resumed in Japan this weekend; and basketball resumed in China.

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  • MLB announces 60-game season for 2020; Opening Day will be July 23 or 24 - CBSSports.com

    Major League Baseball is set to return. The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) informed the league Tuesday that players will comply with commissioner Rob Manfred's imposed outline for a 60-game 2020 season. Players are set report for another version of "spring" training on July 1, and the regular season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced.

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  • The NBA's Disney World dream could turn into a nightmare, fast | Sport | The Guardian

    The NBA is set to resume in Florida right when coronavirus cases are surging in the state. The games themselves will take place at Walt Disney World, where the players will be electronically tracked and monitored. There’s a very serious risk that restarting the season will directly lead to people getting seriously sick or even dying. Some players seem to think that even playing basketball at all could end up distracting people from more important issues.

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  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Steelers HOF Game Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns

    "The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans 'Twice the Fun in ’21.'"

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  • Does the NHL have a better chance than the NBA to return to play? | NBC Sports Boston

    "They've waited until the last possible minute to pick these (host) cities," Haggerty told host Gary Tanguay. "The reason they're doing that is because they want the latest possible data on COVID-19: where there's outbreaks, where there might be problems. They didn't want to run into a situation the NBA is running into now where they picked Orlando, Fla., a long time ago."

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  • SBJ Unpacks: The Road Ahead -- PGA Tour Stays The Course

    “While we have been thorough in building and implementing a program that mitigates as much risk as possible, we knew it would be impossible to eliminate all risk -- as evidenced by the three positive tests this week,” the Tour said in a statement released this afternoon. “We need to use these developments as a stark reminder for everyone involved as we continue to learn from an operational standpoint."

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