SBJ/July 21-27, 2014/Media

CBS to show more PBR events as part of deal

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Professional Bull Riders has extended its media rights deal with CBS in a move that will increase the number of events that will be carried by the broadcast network to 14 a year, up from 10 annually.

CBS would not disclose how much it is paying PBR as part of the new multiyear deal, which is expected to be announced this week, but the deal is similar to the rights agreement that CBS and PBR signed two years ago. The main change is that starting in 2015, CBS will increase the number of events carried on its broadcast network.

That jump in coverage is what PBR officials were seeking, and they believe it serves as a healthy indicator of where their sport fits in the overall CBS sports-rights hierarchy.

As part of the new deal, CBS will group PBR alongside its other major properties, like the NFL and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — whereas in the past, PBR was grouped under the “CBS Sports Spectacular” banner alongside niche sports, said PBR Chief Operating Officer Sean Gleason.

“This is the best deal in PBR television history,” Gleason said. “This deal really takes us out of the ‘CBS Sports Spectacular’ world into the PBR-branded world on CBS. We’re excited about the opportunity to live alongside CBS’s other sports programming, whether it’s the NCAAs, the Masters or the NFL as a major, committed sports property.”

In addition to the 14 events on CBS, the deal provides for between 36 and 40 Built Ford Tough Series events on CBS Sports Network, which Gleason said is “about status quo” from the current rights deal.

The agreement continues a decade-long relationship between PBR and CBS. Last year, PBR telecasts on CBS averaged a 1.1 rating.

With its current rights-fee deal ending, PBR spent the past several months talking with other networks about its programming. Ultimately, it decided to stick with CBS, Gleason said.

“The sport is in a good place,” said Dan Weinberg, CBS Sports Network senior vice president of programming. “It has broad-based appeal from one end of the United States to the other, and it has a tremendously loyal fan base.”

Last October, CBS Interactive signed a deal to produce and manage PBR Live, the digital subscription service that streams more than 100 live broadcasts and on-demand video. With this new television rights agreement with CBS, Gleason said PBR is “renewing and reinvigorating” the PBR Live deal “now that we’re vertically aligned with CBS for the long term.”

Built Ford Tough Series telecasts are produced by the PBR in conjunction with David Neal Productions.

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