The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Paul Bond noted Fox may soon agree to "purchase up to 10 local TV stations from Sinclair," a deal that hints at where the Murdoch family is "taking their conglomerate after most of it is sold to Disney." Sources said that the move is "more about sports, primarily the NFL." Fox already has 28 local channels and could "better monetize" its sports assets with more stations, "especially in markets such as Seattle and Denver," where the Seahawks and Broncos get strong local ratings (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/11).
CUT THE CORD? The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's George Szalai noted Discovery CEO David Zaslav on Wednesday "took a shot against expensive sports rights." Zaslav said, "We’re fighting against sports. And you see it in the U.S. Sports has just become the big bully here in the U.S. And the people that are really losing are the consumers, and it’s going to be the industry." Zaslav noted that "younger people don’t want to want to get pay TV and pay $100 a month to take every sports channel and regional sports network" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/10).
DIGITAL AGE: In N.Y., Justin Terranova notes ESPN’s Katie Nolan recently "launched her podcast and works on the network’s Snapchat 'SportsCenter.'" Nolan said of what her role at ESPN will be going forward, "We are sort of playing it as we go. The goal is to make interesting digital content, things that can live and originate online, as opposed to taking television content and repurposing for people on the internet." Nolan added ESPN Exec VP/Content Connor Schell and other execs are "interested in making content that starts on the internet, lives on the internet and can survive across an entire ecosphere" (N.Y. POST, 1/12).
EXPANDING COVERAGE: The Orlando Sentinel is launching ProSoccerUSA.com, a new national site devoted to MLS news and analysis. Plans call for hiring writers in MLS cities, as well as eventually adding coverage of the NWSL, USL and other North American leagues (Orlando Sentinel). Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Chris Carr notes the Minneapolis Star Tribune is launching a new beat, The North Shore, that will "feature analytics-based stories about the players and teams" the paper covers. Chris Hine, who will lead the beat, comes to the Star Tribune from the Chicago Tribune, where he had been the Blackhawks beat writer (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/12).