Streaming Sports Broadcasts may Disrupt Status Quo for More Pro Sports

Streaming Sports Broadcasts may Disrupt Status Quo for More Pro Sports

With NBA broadcasting rights up for bid in the next few years, Eric Weinberger expects streaming services to surround the negotiating table.

RYE, NEW YORK, August 2022 — Streaming services have already made an impact on NFL and MLB consumption, and more sports will be up for potential streaming contracts over the next few years, according to industry insider Eric Weinberger.

Weinberger, a sports media expert and president of EW Productions, advises the NBA is the biggest offering approaching the contract negotiation line, and in 2025, streaming giants will swoop in to negotiate live sports opportunities for their platforms, disrupting the stronghold of Disney via ESPN and ABC and Discovery with TNT.

Eric Weinberger says talent wins with rights battles

For skilled workers, technicians, and on-air talent, any battle for rights is a good thing. From producers to sound engineers, commentators, and more, there will be new negotiations for better salaries and other concessions to solidify programming. Networks will want to avoid losing marquee names on the talent side, while streamers will be approaching with deep pockets.

Due to his experience with network launches and production, Eric Weinberger realizes what the industry shift to streaming could also provide in terms of embracing new talent from the world of contemporary commentators. As basketball continues on traditional television, new crews of talent discuss the sports on podcasts, web shows, vlogs, social media, and more. It is likely a new crop of non-traditional reporters and personalities will join the ranks alongside industry elites and former players, further intensifying competition.

Numbers don’t lie

The proof regarding heftier compensation, aggressive pursuit of marquee talent, and taking chances on new talent is in the efforts already underway with MLB and NFL streaming efforts.

The MLB expansion to Apple TV+ and Peacock from NBC led to a hiring bonanza in the industry, and Amazon’s Thursday Night Football programming has continued to evolve with a roster of recognizable talent in the studio and calling the games. Salary packages for heavyweights like Kirk Herbstreit and Al Michaels have reached approximately $15 million per year, and Michaels and Herbstreit shared the stage with Roger Goodell at Amazon’s presentation at the 2022 IAB NewFronts in May.

The competition for the NBA will be fierce

As the NBA becomes the next major opportunity in sports, studios and streamers are already preparing to bid on the rights, according to Eric Weinberger. In a June interview, ESPN’s chairman Jimmy Pitaro indicated the network is preparing for a bid with ESPN+ or Hulu as a home.

It’s also unlikely streaming powerhouses like Amazon or Apple will want to pass up the opportunity to bid and acquire rights to pair with existing NFL and MLB programming.

For the NBA, it’s possible multiple streamers will become part of the game rotation, but ESPN is already committed to going all in.

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