ESPN’s new look Tom Brady could change the way sports media looks

Happy New Year, sports media lovers!

What’s so interesting about media and sports is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. This is especially true in the turmoil created by the digital age.

This impacts the networks, the biggest companies and the sportsmen. The world of sports media continues to evolve. What we’re talking about by the end of this year might not even be on the radar here at first.

That said, here are five of the best stories I’m interested in for 2023.

1. Is Tom Brady joining Fox Sports?

Although Tom Brady has a $375 million broadcast deal awaiting him if he chooses to retire, he’s also likely to have a number of teams vying for his post-season services.
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That’s the $375 million question, with the heaviest money on… not this year. Brady could continue to act, which seems more possible after his divorce from Gisele Bundchen. He could also retire and decide he just wants to take a year off, telling Fox Sports to keep his No. 1 seat on the top crew for a bit longer. There are also some pretty big people who believe – although they don’t know it – that Brady will never be on the Fox Sports stand. These folks’ theory is that the Fox Sports money got so high that Brady just took it as a hedge against other things he might do after he quit playing.

Whatever Brady does – just because he’s Brady – is going to be a big story, which is exactly why Fox wanted him so badly in the booth next to him. Kevin Burkhardt.

2. How is the NBA evolving?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media prior to Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics at Chase Center on June 02, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA should seriously consider incorporating a streaming service into their next media rights deal.
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The NBA’s next rights deal likely won’t be decided in 2023, but, in the end, we might get a clearer picture of what the NBA could do when their deals with ABC/ESPN and TNT expire after the season. 2024-25. season.

What seems clear is that the new offerings will be different, with a streamer – like Amazon or Apple or Google/YouTube – likely involved. ABC/ESPN will want to keep Finals and Biggest Games, but would likely be fine with a lower price increase for less tonnage. Meanwhile, Turner’s future under Warner Bros. Discovery is an interesting story in itself, because David Zaslav, president of WBD, said his company only wanted to make a deal for the future, not the past. (More on that below.)

There’s also a chance someone else could get in the game – NBC. With broadcast TV back, could NBC and Peacock find something with the NBA? This time next year it might be more focused.

3. What is Apple’s plan for sports?

The brand is seen at the Apple TV+ 'Friday Night Baseball' Watch Party at the 2022 MLB All-Star House on July 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Apple dipped its toes in the waters of sports broadcasting with its Friday night MLB doubleheaders, but the company decided not to add the NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Getty Images for Apple TV+

We are not adept at half-measures, as Apple has offered us so far. Still in its infancy when it comes to sports broadcasting, it’s not fair to fully judge until there’s time for more moves, so this is just an observation, not an opinion. a review.

Last year’s MLB deal for Friday night doubleheaders wasn’t onerous in Apple’s world, but while Apple and MLB chose not to release any numbers, it’s hard to believe. that it was a great success.

Most recently, they said no to the NFL for Sunday Ticket, which would have been their entry into top sports-entertainment programming, but it’s hard to imagine how the numbers totaled over $2 billion a year. So Apple might have been smart to pass.

This year, the potential 10-year, $2.5 billion deal with MLS that will change sports media begins. There are those in the business who think it will be a disaster, but a global subscription might make sense for a league that has global goals. If successful, this could be the model Apple might try to push for more games.

However, rights agreements occur sporadically. And while Apple might be involved in the NBA, for example, they almost certainly won’t be able to recreate an all-games-for-one subscription platform like MLS.

4. When does ESPN go direct to consumer with all of its programming?

An ESPN camera during a game between the California Golden Bears and USC Trojans on November 5, 2022, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.
Within the next two years, ESPN is expected to be available as a direct-to-consumer service.
Sportswire icon via Getty Images

It is happening. It’s a question of when, not if. If we are in 2023, it will probably be at the end of the year. By the end of 2024, I’d be really surprised if that wasn’t done.

What does it mean? ESPN would still be on cable, but it would be offered directly to consumers without cable. Not just ESPN+, but a service that would allow you to receive all of ESPN’s extensive programming

ESPN DTC would likely cost between $19.99 and $29.99 to start. And, here’s the kicker: it opens the door to a bigger move to recreate its own bundle with news, sports and entertainment, using all of Disney’s strengths.

5. What is the future of Turner Sports?

David Zaslav, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery speaks with the media upon arriving at the Sun Valley Resort for the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 05, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
With David Zaslav now in charge of Warner Bros. Discovery, it’s unclear what Turner Sports’ strategy will be in upcoming rights negotiations.
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I think the answer right now is: who the hell knows? New bosses are everywhere, from the top of its parent company in Warner Bros. Discovery – Zaslav – to the head of Turner Sports – Luis Silberwasser. So to act as if this new management team at Turner will go about business as usual is too much of an assumption at this point. Is that okay? He could very well, and he will be a great player for years to come with the NBA, MLB, NHL, March Madness and golf. However, it is unclear how this will play out in the future, as the agreements need to be renewed?

Could he team up with CBS on the NBA, like he does with college hoops? Could he step back from new deals, starting with the NBA? Zaslav made it clear he could live without basketball if he didn’t like what he heard from the commissioner Adam Silver.

There are questions. Turner has always been an under-the-radar powerhouse in sports media. That may not be the case soon.


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