CBS, SEC Discuss Future Package, But Other Suitors Could Emerge
CBS' deal for the "highly valuable" SEC football package expires after the '23 season, and while the net has not made an official extension offer to the conference, deal parameters "have been discussed, and the SEC has started getting specific on what it wants," according to John Talty of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. CBS has "publicly stated it wants to extend the deal," which pays the SEC $55M annually. Privately, the network has "indicated it would like to have a deal done" before the end of '19. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said that he is "taking a long-term view and mentioned presentation, level of exposure and revenue as factors." CBS will "face stiff competition" in bidding. One "key factor is how CBS and SEC each interpret the current contract," which was agreed to in '08. Within the contract is a provision that states, "CBS would have the right of first negotiation/first refusal." Those terms "include selection priority (CBS gets first pick of SEC games), game time and exclusivity, among other factors." But Sankey has "pushed back on the legality of that specific provision." If the SEC's reasoning is accurate, it would mean the league "could shop for offers once the negotiating window is over and wouldn't have to bring those terms back to CBS to give the network a chance to match them" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/22).
EMPHASIS ON TALENT: THE BIG LEAD's Bobby Burack noted while DAZN is still in the "process of finding an identity, a blockbuster move will be in play: Paul Finebaum." The ESPN college football personality "has a relationship" with DAZN Exec Chair John Skipper, his former boss at ESPN. Sources said that Finebaum and Skipper had "dinner together last month" in N.Y. Sources also said that the current radio/simulcast model that DAZN has with Westwood One airing Pat McAfee's show is a "style the service wants to mimic and build around." Finebaum "fits that bill." Sources said that the belief is that Skipper-led DAZN would make Finebaum an offer that not only increases his salary, but would give him more freedom and the choice to broadcast where he chooses." It also would be an addition that "puts DAZN on the map in the talk-media space" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 11/21).