Last week’s speculation is now official: Fox Sports has renewed its exclusive U.S. rights to the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues.
The terms of the agreement call for Fox to continue to televise the matches exclusively through the 2017-2018 season. Fox has had the Champions League Rights since 2009 and the Europa League since 2012.
Under the agreement Fox plans coverage across multiple channels and platforms including Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Regional Networks and FOX Soccer Plus, as well as online via FoxSports.com and on mobile devices through the Fox Sports GO app.
“We are elated to continue our partnership with UEFA and serve as home of its flagship properties through at least 2018,” said David Nathanson, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. “The combination of UEFA Champions and Europa leagues provides viewers with the complete club competition experience at the highest level. The fact that all the leading European teams and players continue to be seen on one destination speaks to FOX Sports’ commitment to showcase the world’s best. No other sports television franchise has an elite international soccer schedule that even comes close.”
We dream of warm weather to start the show, talking about the news that ESPN will add Curt Schilling to its Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth. Schilling replaces Orel Hershiser, who will be joining the broadcast team for the Los Angeles Dodgers new regional sports network which will launch in 2014.
We end the news segment looking at the report by John Ourand at Sports Business Journal that Fox appears to be the front runner to retaining the rights to the UEFA Champions League matches here in the United States.
Our second guest this week is ESPN’s Joe Tessitore. Ken speaks with Joe about his upcoming new role as lead studio host for the SEC Network which will launch late next summer.
With the announcement that Orel Hershiser will be working on the Los Angeles Dodgers game telecasts, ESPN wasted no time today announcing who will take his place on the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast crew. Curt Schilling will fill Hershiser’s role beginning next season.
Schilling has served as a Baseball Tonight studio analyst since 2010, and has also provided analysis for select MLB game telecasts on ESPN. He will continue to make studio appearances for the network.
“I’m excited to join an already outstanding team,” said Schilling. “I would like to bring a perspective that will help fans get inside the head of the guy on the mound, and behind the plate, while also helping fans to better understand the work and preparation that goes into pitching in the big leagues.”
“Curt is one of the most unique announcers we have ever had on baseball, or any other sport, for that matter.” said Jed Drake, ESPN executive producer and senior vice-president, production. “He speaks his mind, and when he does, it is almost always fascinating, insightful and quite often, provocative. People will watch Sunday Night Baseball because of what Curt might say – that’s a rare gift. And, did I mention that he was a ferocious competitor, who has three World Series rings? Enough said.”
We start the show by looking back at the big sports media story from a week ago, the news that Rogers Communications has won the sole national NHL media rights in Canada away from TSN and CBC. We look at the impact the deal will have in Canada as well as what it may mean for sports rights deals here in the U.S.A.
We move on to the NFL and the news from Fox Sports that it has already sold its entire ad inventory for February’s Super Bowl XLVIII. The news proves once again that football is king on TV and with sponsors.
We look back at the spectacular weekend of college football and, in particular, CBS’ coverage of the Alabama/Auburn Iron Bowl. We all give kudos to CBS for its coverage of the game and striking the right tone both in pictures and in words from Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, and Tracey Wolfson.
As ESPN prepares for coverage of its final World Cup for a while we discuss the potential U.S. rights fee battle for the UEFA Champions League matches. Fox Sports currently holds the rights, but ESPN and NBC are looking to snatch the package away.
We wrap the show by discussing Deadspin’s purchase of a baseball Hall of Fame vote and how that may shake out.