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ESPN Media Notes: Olbermann Set For Show's Debut; Net Extends With Little League
Published August 26, 2013
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand reports ESPN has "finalized a deal that ensures it will carry the Little League World Series through 2022." Sources said that ESPN will pay "around" $60M over eight years, nearly double the $30.5M deal ESPN signed in '07. ESPN execs have "long valued Little League programming, and the new deal continues a 50-year relationship." The net has carried LLWS games "every year since 1987, and it occupies large programming blocks in August -- a time when there are few live events on air." ESPN was averaging 911,000 viewers for this year’s LLWS through Aug. 18, up 12% over last year. Little League said that it "did not enter into serious discussions with other networks" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/26 issue).
MEASURE OF THINGS: In N.Y., Josh Kosman reports the fate of Nielsen’s proposed $1.26B purchase of Arbitron "likely lies with ESPN." The company "licenses software from Arbitron for a new project that enables it to tell how often viewers are watching the network over television, radio, PCs, smartphones and tablets." The license expires soon, and sources said that the "ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval." A source said that ESPN Senior VP/Research & Analytics Artie Bulgrin has been speaking to the FTC "about the licensed software." A source said that ESPN was "initially against the merger ... but now is discussing a compromise" (N.Y. POST, 8/26).