Big news at ESPN will change sports media and reshape Pac-12’s options
Wednesday night, YouTube TV crashed late in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. The moment was worth noting because streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix have crashed during live broadcasts of high-profile events. (Netflix crashed one month ago during the airing of a live reality TV dating show called “Love Is Blind.) The failure of streaming services to deliver smooth broadcasts the way cable and over-the-air television networks regularly offer is something which will limit consumer demand and therefore reduce the price point the Pac-12 is likely to achieve in a media rights deal.
Now we have news that ESPN will sell its main channel directly to consumers as part of a subscription streaming service. This is a way to reach out to cord-cutters in a changed market. The Wall Street Journal broke the story. We’ll offer a few relevant questions and observations below:
ESPN is laying the foundation to sell its main TV channel directly to consumers as a subscription streaming service, working under the internal codename “Flagship,” @jtoonkel & @bysarahkrouse report. https://t.co/qTRUy9ol9Y
— Amol Sharma (@asharma) May 18, 2023
REPORT: ESPN KEEPING ITS CHANNEL
ESPN plans to maintain its cable channel even with its streaming service, according to anonymous sources.https://t.co/LCU00ZUO5E pic.twitter.com/PVb3rAmVla
— Forbes (@Forbes) May 18, 2023
OBVIOUS QUESTION NO. 1
USA TODAY Sports / Fighting Irish Wire
Does this mean future USC-Notre Dame games in South Bend will be streamed on Peacock but not shown on NBC? Hopefully this isn’t leading in that direction. Keep in mind that Peacock will exclusively show one NFL playoff game in the future, a development which angered a lot of NFL fans.
OBVIOUS QUESTION NO. 2
Feb 22, 2020; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Detailed view of a CBS Sports microphone before the start of the game between the UCLA Bruins against the Colorado Buffaloes at the CU Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
When USC plays a CBS Big Ten game against Maryland or Rutgers, will that game be shown exclusively on Paramount, the CBS streaming service which is the equivalent of what Peacock is for NBC?
OBVIOUS QUESTION NO. 3
The Amazon Center in Canton Miss., celebrates its grand opening Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. The Center, called JAN1, is the only robotic sorting center in Mississippi. Amazon names its facilities after the nearest airport to the site.
If George Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 are pursuing a digital media package with Amazon and/or Apple, how would this move by ESPN change the market and affect the price point for a potential deal?
BEHIND THE SCENES
Dec 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff reacts during the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Has George Kliavkoff been conducting negotiations knowing ESPN and The Walt Disney Company were going to do this sooner rather than later? We don’t know the answer, but it’s fascinating to contemplate the question.