Ice Cube Says It's Time For Big3 To Move On From Fox Sports
The Big3 hopes to have a "new TV home by June, when the league’s third season tips off," after parting with Fox Sports following its first two seasons, according to Meg James of the L.A. TIMES. Big3 co-Founder Ice Cube said it was "time to move on" when the two-year deal it signed with Fox expired last year. Fellow league co-Founder Jeff Kwatinetz added Fox is "going to be a little different" after Disney buys much of 21st Century Fox. Kwatinetz: "It’s going to be very heavy on Fox News -- which is fine." He suggested that Fox "failed to engage in negotiations to renew the Big3’s TV rights deal because Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate was miffed that Big3 also was trying to elbow into the auction for the Fox sports channels." Kwatinetz: "We’re both competing for a similar asset, potentially." James notes the Big3 has been "trying to scrape together" as much as $15B to make a "competitive bid" for the RSNs. However, the league has "spent much of the last year locked in a bitter legal dispute with a Qatari investment firm and has struggled to recruit a deep-pocketed investor to help" with its bid for the sports channels. Finding a new TV partner has "become a top priority to keep the nascent Big3 league commercially viable" (L.A. TIMES, 1/11).
MORE CHANGES COMING: The Big3 will expand to 12 teams for the '19 season after fielding eight clubs the last two years. The league also will play in 18 cities, with games to be held twice a week in each city compared to once a week in 10 cities over the first two seasons. Ice Cube said, “It’s time to up the ante a bit.” Basketball HOFer Lisa Leslie will coach one of the new teams this year, while the player age requirement will be lowered from 30 to 27. Players still must have NBA or pro international basketball experience (John Lombardo, THE DAILY).