ESPN Little League World Series coverage should be an encore

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It was known for weeks that the Big Ten was about to make television history, but the official confirmation fell on Thursday morning. FOX, FS1, BTN, CBS, NBC and Peacock will now be your exclusive homes for all that Big Ten for the foreseeable future. Each partner received a fair share of content that will make the conference a cornerstone of each respective network for years to come. Here are the five most interesting things I take away from the new deal.

Amazon is rejected again – Richard Deitsch of Athleticism reports that Amazon was willing to pay more than CBS and NBC for a set of games in the 3:30 p.m. or primetime timeslot. As we now know, they were rejected. They didn’t even win the streaming package offered to them, as I previously predicted (Being on Peacock guarantees promotion on NBC platforms, including “Today” or during NFL games). It shows that the leagues, now more than ever, care about reach the most.

Michael Mulvihill of Fox Sports says that if CBS, NBC and Fox “promote their upcoming B1G game twice during their Sunday NFL games, that’s over 150 million promotional impressions for B1G every NFL Sunday.” Amazon has 172 million Prime subscribers in the United States according to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners report last January. But it’s much easier for the average viewer to find CBS, NBC and Fox than it is to find Prime on their TVs. This is a plain and simple fact that may not change for a long time.

We may have to wait for the next rights renewal process to bring Amazon’s reach, accessibility, and recognition close to that of the broadcast networks. Ad age reports that the internet giant is already lowering viewership expectations for the upcoming season of Thursday Night Football due to these same concerns.

Seven years from now, things could be different, and having essential NFL games on Thursday nights can help viewers’ habits adjust, regardless of their age group. But for now, streaming is still king. Local stations and broadcast networks have a decades-long affiliation with Americans that might be impossible to overcome and are the easiest channels to access in this country.

Peacock becomes even more of a must-have app for sports fans – As part of the overall deal, Peacock will have the rights to eight exclusive Big Ten football games and up to 47 exclusive men’s basketball games and 30 exclusive women’s basketball games. Even though broadcasting is king, streaming is here to stay. Big Ten fans will now join hockey and football fans in watching much of their school’s season on a streaming service. For fans, it will be an adjustment.

Depending on your internet signal, it might be difficult to cast a screen or connect an HDMI cable or access a Smart TV app to watch your school games, but ultimately it’s a behavior we’ll all have to adapt if we haven’t already. For NBC, this gives their app even more leverage to stand out and avoid churn as much as possible. Hoops season will likely be when fans really notice the change.

My viewing habit in the past to watch Big Ten basketball games was to switch the channel to ESPN or ESPN2 by accident. Unless my Terps are playing or there’s a game that’s been talked about a lot throughout the day on Twitter and is a must-watch, the chances of me finding how to access it on Peacock are slim , or even zero.

Big Ten and Peacock’s hope is that over the life of this deal, my habit will change to not only switch channels on my basic cable package, but to browse my streaming services and see that there’s a Big Ten match in progress and need to log in. I wonder if Xfinity and other cable companies will consider a virtual channel placeholder that will make it easier to tune into a streaming service’s sporting events in the future.

For example, if ESPN is channel 6 on my cable listings, ESPN2 is channel 7, my local RSN is channel 8, FS1 is channel 9, could a cable provider make channel 10 something like ” Peacock Sports” with a list of a Big Ten game in progress that connects me directly to the app and directly to the feed without me having to search for the app, then search for the sports section, then scroll to see what’s on direct. Accessibility will make streaming sports so much easier. Watching TV is a lazy sport. The harder a viewer has to work, the less likely they are to watch or discover your content. Peacock will also serve as a major home for Olympic sports.

It will be interesting to see if being on the same app as hit shows like Bel-Air and the island of love contributes to increasing the visibility of these sports. The Athletic also reports that there will be times when Peacock airs a primetime Big Ten game while NBC airs a primetime Notre Dame game. Will they complement each other or drive viewers away from each other? These are questions we’ll know the answer to soon enough, but I salute the Big Ten and NBC for taking a measured but aggressive leap into the world of streaming.

CBS bolsters TV deals despite streaming and SEC losses – When it was first revealed that CBS was signing with the Big Ten for more money than they would have used to keep the SEC’s best football game of the week, everyone cried wolf. on how CBS took an L major. But when you look at this deal, it looks more like a win for CBS’ overall sports portfolio.

The Tiffany Network will have access to two Big Ten Championship games in 2024 and 2028. NBC may have more streaming exclusives for its app, but CBS will have an additional college football postseason game that NBC does not have. (NBC has a Big Ten Champ Game in 2026). They will host 15 MBB matches as well as the semi-finals and the final of the Big Ten tournament. They also just added the Big Ten WBB Tournament Finals. Women’s basketball odds continue to soar whether it’s the college game or the pro game.

A new group of advertisers are looking to showcase their products at women’s sporting events, as awareness and conversation has shifted to give as much attention to the women’s game as the men’s. CBS has witnessed the growth through its NWSL and WNBA shows. CBS also wins a lucrative Black Friday afternoon football game that they can sell for even more lucrative prices due to the time of year when millions more people than usual are glued to their TVs. .

With their deal with the SEC, they only got SEC football. It is much more expensive for them. It also helps that the markets where the Big Ten teams are located are much more aligned with their owned and operated stations than the SEC was, which will help local ad sales in those markets. In my hometown of Baltimore, CBS owns WJZ-TV. The largest University of Maryland market with the most fans besides Washington, DC is Baltimore.

Is there still a chance for ESPN and the Big Ten to be business partners again? – As crazy as it sounds, it’s possible the Big Ten will expand AGAIN to include Pac-12 schools like California, Stanford, Oregon and Washington, reports CBS Sports. With Fox, CBS and NBC already having their schedules set, ESPN could be the perfect rights holder to step in and pick up games.

As I noted last week, I don’t think the Big Ten will lose relevance from a college football perspective by no longer broadcasting on ESPN. Big Ten schools will always be eligible candidates for ESPN’s CFP ownership and the Big Ten’s football fan base is too large to be overlooked on ESPN’s talk show circuit without monetary consequences on the side of the Big Ten. ESPN. The basketball season could turn out to be very different. Major basketball games will still be shown on fully distributed networks like FS1 and BTN.

But does the human psyche of not being on ESPN affect how a basketball team is perceived during the NCAA tournament selection process? If there is a real connection, could we see the Big Ten sublicensing some of BTN’s inventory to ESPN? Events like the Big Ten/ACC Challenge are also in play. Could we see these types of tournaments sold separately to ESPN or another medium like Turner, Amazon or Apple?

Athleticism‘s Nicole Auerbach reports that the Big Ten may consider selling the rights to “specific one-time events.” Darren Rovell of The Action Network points out that live micropayment moments could be the future of live sports viewing. “You’re going to be able to buy the last quarter for $2 or the last two minutes for 99 cents,” Rovell wrote. This type of technology already exists through the Buzzer app which has signed deals with the NBA and WNBA to send push notifications during key game moments and entice viewers to watch what happens next for 99 cents or $2. .

ESPN has one of the most used sports apps in America. Could a deal ever be struck that would give ESPN the ability to sell those Big Ten games live micropayment moments at similar prices, connect their user to the Fox Sports app or Paramount+ or Peacock depending on location where the game takes place, and divide the profit between the rights holders, the conference and themselves? It’s a crazy concept of cooperation that may not be possible, but we’ve seen crazier concepts happen before in sports media.

Commitment to Academics – One of the most interesting aspects of this agreement is NBC’s commitment to promoting the academic missions of the Big Ten schools. Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal reports that NBC will dedicate $100,000 of its advertising budget to this initiative.

NBC has been doing its best to be mission-driven lately, even with its HBCU football slate which will offer some HBCU students the opportunity to cover a game for NBC’s digital platforms and give others students the opportunity to network and enhance their career prospects with other divisions. by NBC Universal.

College sports broadcasts aren’t just great recruiting tools for athletes. High school students who are deciding where to go to school after HS and who will never play sports also watch these games. They may be influenced to attend those institutions to which NBC is entitled because of the experiences that NBC provides at those universities or because of the awareness that NBC imparts to what the university stands for. It helps drive a mission of purpose and business, NBC is potentially building a young, new fan base for the future.

A student who eventually becomes loyal to a certain university through NBC’s initiatives might be more inclined to consume content about that institution on NBC platforms in the future. It’s probably far-fetched wishful thinking and a bold assumption without analysis, but who knows? Ha ha.

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