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Fox Sports and NASCAR closed a new $3.8B TV rights agreement that adds three Sprint Cup races, 14 Nationwide Series races and two years to the deal the broadcaster cut with NASCAR last fall. The $3.8B price tag is $1.4B greater than the eight-year deal Fox signed with NASCAR last year. That eight-year, $2.4B agreement included 13 NSCS races and the entire Camping World Truck Series through '22. The new 10-year deal gives Fox 16 NSCS races, 14 NNS races and the entire CWTS season through '24. NASCAR and Fox declined to comment on terms of the agreement. Between '15-22, NASCAR will collect more than $8.2B in media rights from Fox and NBC, which signed a 10-year, $4.4B deal two weeks ago. The networks together will pay an average of $820M a year, a 46% increase from the $560M that NASCAR currently receives annually from Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN. Sources said that the deal Fox cut with NASCAR last fall gave the broadcaster the first right to negotiate on the first half of the NNS season if ESPN, which currently holds those rights, opted not to retain them. ESPN passed on renewing its NASCAR rights in early July, triggering the clause in Fox’ contract and allowing the broadcaster to scoop up the NNS. The deal with Fox closes out all of NASCAR’s remaining inventory. Fox will air the first 16 NSCS races and first 14 NNS races annually beginning in '15. NBC will air the subsequent 20 NSCS races and 19 NNS races. A total of 16 NSCS races will be shown on broadcast TV. Fox will air nine, and NBC seven. The other 20 NSCS races will air on cable. Fox Sports 1 will air seven and NBC Sports Network 13. Fox’ negotiations were led by co-Presidents & CO-COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks. NASCAR was led by Chair & CEO Brian France and VP/Broadcasting & Production Steve Herbst. Sports Media Advisors, a media consultancy headed by former IMG and NHL exec Doug Perlman, as well as law firm Proskauer, assisted NASCAR on the deal.
Untitled Document"UFC on Fox 8" last Saturday night drew a 1.5 final rating and 2.38 million viewers, marking the least-viewed UFC telecast on Fox to date. While the viewership was at an all-time low for the UFC on Fox, the rating did see a slight ratings uptick from the fourth event at the same time last year, which drew a 1.4 rating and 2.44 million viewers. That broadcast aired up against the London Games. Saturday's telecast, which saw Demetrious Johnson defeat John Moraga via arm bar submission in the main event, did give Fox a win for the night among all key male and adult demos. Among males 18-34, the telecast was the highest-rated event of the weekend. Meanwhile, FX averaged 904,000 for the prelims last Saturday in the lead-up to the Fox telecast.AUDIENCE FOR UFC ON FOXTELECASTDATE HEADLINE FIGHTRATINGVIEWERS (000)111/12/11 Junior Dos Santos-Cain Velasquez*3.15,67521/28/12 Rashad Evans-Phil Davis2.64,66135/5/12 Nate Diaz-Jim Miller1.52,41848/4/12 Shogun Rua-Brandon Vera1.42,436512/8/12 Benson Henderson-Nate Diaz2.54,39261/26/13 Demetrious Johnson-John Dodson2.44,21974/20/13 Benson Henderson-Gilbert Melendez2.23,74287/27/13 Demetrious Johnson-John Moraga1.52,384
NOTE: * = Telecast was only one hour. Subsequent telecasts were at least two hours.
The CBC has one month to "lock down the broadcast rights to 'Hockey Night in Canada' for another decade," but with the asking price expected to double to C$200M a season, the country’s public broadcaster "could be hard pressed to keep its 60-year lock on Saturday night hockey," according to Steve Ladurantaye of the GLOBE & MAIL. The CBC has "exclusive negotiating rights with the NHL through August." However, sources said that Bell Media, which owns TSN and CTV, is "anxious to step in if a deal with the CBC can’t be reached quickly." The CBC "drew an average of two million viewers for each early broadcast last season, and one million for the later game." The net "relies on the Saturday broadcast to promote the rest of its schedule," and it stands to lose up to C$175M in "annual advertising revenue." But the CBC finding another C$100M a year to cover the increase in rights fees "is a challenge at a time when its annual budget is in decline." Landing the Saturday night NHL package for Bell Media "would mean a substantial ratings boost on TSN and the chance to further establish its dominance in sports broadcasting" in Canada. Meanwhile, Ladurantaye reports the NHL is "interested in creating an exclusive Canadian broadcast on Sunday nights that could go to the broadcaster who is either outbid or passes on the Saturday night rights" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).
A new play about the Yankees titled "Bronx Bombers" will debut Sept. 17 at Primary Stages at The Duke theater in N.Y., according to Mark Kennedy of the AP. The play was "conceived by Fran Kirmser, commissioned by Tony Ponturo, and written and directed by Eric Simonson." That is the team behind previous Broadway plays "Lombardi" and "Magic/Bird." The cast includes Joe Pantoliano (playing Yogi Berra), Francois Battiste (Reggie Jackson), Chris Henry Coffey (Joe DiMaggio), Christopher Jackson (Derek Jeter) and Bill Dawes (Mickey Mantle) (AP, 8/2). PLAYBILL.com's Adam Hetrick noted the play "examines how baseball's most storied franchise has always remained focused on maintaining a great team, even when dealing with some of the game's most iconic and tempestuous personalities." The production will have "scenic design by Beowulf Borritt, lighting design by Jason Lyons and original music and sound by Lindsay Jones" (PLAYBILL.com, 7/29).
THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre reported ESPN Exec Chair George Bodenheimer and Exec Editor John Walsh have "agreed to stay on in their current roles at the network" through the middle of '14. A company spokesperson confirmed that Bodenheimer "signed an extension to remain in his role." Walsh is "widely regarded" as ESPN President John Skipper's "most trusted adviser." Bodenheimer and Walsh "will be crucial sounding boards for Skipper as he navigates the waters of an interesting year ahead" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/1).
LOOKING FOR MORE: TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wrote, "Whatever you think of ESPN’s tennis coverage, you can’t say the network hasn’t put money into the sport." Tignor wrote of ESPN's getting full U.S. Open media rights, "The question going forward is whether it was enough to get the Worldwide Leader to cover and promote tennis as well." Sports fans are "only going to believe something is important or exciting if ESPN makes them believe it, and highlights have always been a big part of how people understand what matters in sports." If ESPN can "make the world care about every detail" in other sports, it "can make us at least pay attention to the weekly ups and downs of Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams" (TENNIS.com, 8/1).
JOHNNY BE QUIET: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes, "Summer generally is the slowest time in sports, and in recent years ESPN has developed storylines, many contrived or overblown, that, it has forced at viewers to try to keep interest up." In '09, there was the "Brett Favre saga as to whether he would stay retired or return to the NFL, which became a media frenzy when he agreed to join the Vikings." Now this summer, ESPN "has exhaustively chronicled reigning Heisman Trophy holder Johnny Manziel’s off-field behavior, not only pointing out his alleged indiscretions but going into exhaustive coverage and analysis from a bevy of commentators about the activities of a 20-year-old college student" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/2).
SPECIAL K: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Carolyn Giardina reported Sony is "shooting ESPN’s Summer X-Games in 4K, roughly four times the resolution of today's HD." The company "has been working to create entertainment content in 4K to drive demand for 4K 'Ultra HD' TVs that are now on the market." Plans are to "create a sizzle reel and a 20-minute story reel that will be available via the new Sony Media Player, created to deliver 4K movies and other content to owners of Sony's Ultra HD TVs" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/1).
ESPN earned a 3.6 U.S. rating and 5.5 million viewers last Sunday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400, the net’s first telecast of the ’13 season and first since NASCAR announced ESPN’s package of races would be going to NBC beginning in ’15. The audience was up from record-low levels last season, when ESPN earned a 3.3 rating and 5.1 million viewers. Indianapolis led all markets with a 13.7 local rating, followed by Greensboro (10.1) and Greenville-Spartanburg (9.4).NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES BRICKYARD 400 AUDIENCE TREND ON ESPNYEARRATINGVIEWERS (000)'133.65,460'123.35,055'114.06,377'103.65,709'094.16,487'084.36,668'074.26,574
NINE LIVES: ESPN averaged 377,000 viewers for the premieres of the first four “Nine for IX” documentaries. The top audience remains the first premiere, which was “Venus Vs” on July 2 with 460,000 viewers. Since the start of “30 for 30” in October ‘09, the four “Nine for IX” films would rank as four of the five least-viewed documentary premieres on ESPN."NINE FOR IX" PREMIERES ON ESPNDATEFILMRATINGVIEWERS (000)7/2"Venus Vs."0.44607/9"Pat XO"0.23117/16"No Limits"0.33357/23"Let Them Wear Towels"0.3400
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal: Panama-Mexico7/24UniMas9:36pm-12:06am1.63,308 PGA Tour: RBC Canadian Open: Final Round7/28CBS3:00-6:00pm1.6n/a CONCACAF Gold Cup Final: U.S.-Panama7/28Fox3:30-6:05pm1.42,400 "UFC on Fox 8"7/27Fox8:00-10:17pm1.52,384 MLB: (regional)7/27Fox3:00-6:00pm1.4n/a PGA Tour: RBC Canadian Open: Third Round7/27CBS3:00-6:00pm1.0n/a CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal: U.S.-Honduras7/24UniMas6:38-9:02pm0.81,600 World Series of Beach Volleyball7/28NBC4:30-6:00pm0.71,081 World Series of Beach Volleyball7/27NBC4:00-5:00pm0.6884 X Games7/28ABC5:00-6:00pm0.5836 World Swimming Championships7/28NBC2:30-4:30pm0.5800 WNBA All-Star Game7/27ABC3:30-6:00pm0.6791 "Octane Academy"7/27NBC5:00-6:00pm0.4599 AMA Motocross7/27NBC3:00-4:00pm0.4566 Tour de France recap7/28NBC12:30-2:30pm0.3528 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing7/27CBS2:00-3:00pm0.3n/a "Road to the PGA Championship"7/28CBS2:00-3:00pm0.3n/a TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NASCAR Sprint Cup: Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis)7/28ESPN1:00-4:22pm3.65,460 MLB: Cardinals-Braves7/28ESPN8:00-11:08pm1.52,377 NASCAR Nationwide Series: Indianapolis7/27ESPN4:30-7:00pm1.41,913 "NASCAR Countdown"7/28ESPN12:00-1:00pm1.41,890 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Eldora7/24Speed9:31-11:40pm0.91,409 "NASCAR Countdown"7/27ESPN4:00-4:30pm0.91,251 NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying7/27ESPN2:00-4:00pm0.81,156 "NASCAR Pre-Race"7/24Speed9:00-9:31pm0.61,031 MLB: Yankees-Rangers7/22ESPN7:00-9:58pm0.7935 UFC prelims7/27FX5:00-8:00pm0.6904
In L.A., Tom Hoffarth reports Baseball HOFer Peter Gammons has raised $25,000 through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com in support of his new GammonsDaily.com. The site launched Wednesday with the "rush of MLB trading deadline news, while Gammons was appearing on the MLB Network, without referencing the site." In an era where Grantland's Bill Simmons and The MMQB's Peter King "can go solo with the support of a major media entity, this seems to be a bit of a groveling venture below someone of the stature of Gammons" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/2).
BIG PAPADAKIS: In California, Michael Lev writes Fox Sports Radio's Petros Papadakis' "football expertise helped him land the most prestigious job of his broadcasting career" as FS1 studio analyst for the "Fox College Saturday" pregame show. Show Coordinating Producer Bardia Shah-Rais said of Papadakis, "He's got tremendous passion and energy. It's unmatched. His football IQ is off the charts." Shah-Rais added, "He's opinionated and credible at the same time." Papadakis in addition to his new studio role will "be in the booth" alongside Joel Klatt and Justin Kutcher for FS1's Thursday night games (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/2).
DAWG DAYS: SportsTime Ohio and the Browns on Thursday reached a new multiyear TV agreement, whereby the RSN will feature exclusive Browns programming, starting with Browns training camp and continuing all season. STO also will launch Fox Sports' first NFL luxury charter bus with the Browns Fan Express (Browns).
IN THE BLEACHERS: AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Matt Yoder cited sources as saying that CBSSports.com NFL writer Mike Freeman is "on his way to Bleacher Report." Freeman had worked for CBSSports.com since '07, and the hiring "may prove to be another watershed moment" for Bleacher Report (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 8/1).