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SBD/February 18, 2013/Media
Published February 18, 2013
HOOKED ON A FEELING: ESPN President John Skipper said that the company "remains committed to its Longhorn Network but disappointed in its limited availability." Skipper said that ESPN continues to "work on lining up customers" for LHN, "which is available on AT&T U-verse and Verizon FIoS and recently added Charter Communications but remains absent from DirecTV, Dish Network and Comcast, Houston’s largest cable provider." Skipper: "Yes, we’re concerned. We wish we were further along in terms of distribution, but we’re confident that we will continue to get deals and that as those deals get done, we’ll get the distribution we need" (CHRON.com, 2/16).
LEAVING THE ISLAND? The FINANCIAL TIMES' Budden & Thomas report U.K. telecommunications company BT is "in discussions to acquire" soccer rights in the country from ESPN. The interest comes as BT "plans to roll out" as many as three sports channels to broadcast soccer, rugby and other sports content it already has acquired for almost $1.55B (all figures U.S.). ESPN rights "being touted for sale include broadcast rights to certain matches from the German Bundesliga, the Europa League and the English FA Cup." Satellite broadcaster BSkyB "is also interested in the assets." Analysts estimate that acquiring the rights together would "cost about" $31M annually (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/18).
TOP OF THE LIST: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote the ESPN TV crew of Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke and Jeannine Edwards for Saturday's Duke-Maryland men's basketball game did "a fine job." The overall production was "solid to very good." It was the "announcing that carried the telecast," and Burke "was the star." Zurawik: "What a delight it was to hear Burke repeatedly peppering her analysis with what she saw at Maryland practice on Friday." Edwards' sideline reporting was "first-rate" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 2/16).