BROADCASTING & CABLE's Tim Baysinger noted the NBA's media rights deals are up following the '15-16 season, and with "three media companies -- ESPN/ABC, Fox and Turner -- possibly bidding for only two packages, the NBA could be looking at a lofty payout." Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said, "The NBA is the last major piece of sports content that ESPN has to acquire for the long-term future. There has been some talk of splitting (those rights) up." Baysinger notes some of that talk is "due to Fox's very open desire to acquire NBA games" for FS1. If Fox does not outbid ESPN or Turner, "there is some thought the league could create a third national rights package" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 1/6 issue).
UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS? In L.A., Joe Flint noted the Esquire Network's new show "Friday Night Tykes" is a "documentary about the Texas Youth Football Assn., whose players are under the age of 10." The preview clip shows "screaming coaches" and "several helmet-to-helmet collisions." This has the NFL "concerned." A league spokesperson said, "The trailer is definitely troubling to watch." But an Esquire Network spokesperson said the show provides an "authentic and provocative glimpse into an independent youth football league in Texas" (LATIMES.com, 1/6).
LICENSE TO DRIVE: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote of ABC retaining racing play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick for its IndyCar coverage, "Vince Welch seemed like the natural choice to me, but I think Allen is a terrific choice." Bestwick is someone who "will lead the broadcast the way it needs to be led." He is someone "people will recognize when they land on the channel, and there's a chance casual viewers will stay longer for that reason" (INDYSTAR.com, 1/6).
DETROIT ROCK CITY: In Detroit, George Sipple noted WXYT-FM yesterday aired "the first of seven one-hour weekly hot stove radio shows" called "Tigertalk" with Tigers radio announcer Dan Dickerson and WXYT's Pat Caputo. The shows will air at 7:00pm ET on "either Mondays or Tuesdays, depending on other programming." Meanwhile, a total of 22 Tigers Spring Training games "will be broadcast on radio and four games on TV" (FREEP.com, 1/6).