Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Innings. This week begins with Ivy League athletes making a push to compete this season. The Brown Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams have started a petition to pressure the Executive Director of the Ivy League and school presidents into permitting Spring sports. The Ivy League is the only conference not participating in intercollegiate athletics this Spring.
NBC announced this week that it will consolidate its channels by ending NBC Sports Network. This is a larger, overall trend that many television networks are employing as consumers are continuing to watch sports and other programs on streaming services. The result could be positive for some leagues as they may be transferred to more viewed channels, but at the same time, could be detrimental to leagues that only appear on the channel a few times per year.
Two of the largest events that will be affected by this move are the NHL season and the Tour de France. NBC reportedly told the NHL that the league will have regular programming on USA Network, a channel that is currently in more homes than NBCSN. Smaller sports leagues that rely on the exposure of being on linear TV, like the Premier Lacrosse League, will be relegated to Peacock.
NASCAR is in a precarious situation compared to other leagues because they have a television deal with NBC through 2024. It remains to be seen how the network will handle the transition from NBCSN as the league has strong contracts with other networks, like Fox. Overall, this is a strategic decision for NBC and should boost subscribers to Peacock thus making the network a power player as consumer trends push toward streaming platforms.
Notable Information From the Sports World:
2021 Olympics: “Cancel” is a word that is starting to be thrown around among Japanese officials as the Games are now within six months of starting, and the pandemic continues to rage. IOC President Bach says the rumors are not true. The Japanese public is turning on the event as ~80% of people polled do not support the Games this summer.
Pac-12: Commissioner Scott will step down this summer, and the Pac-12 will begin the process of looking for someone to replace him. Scott negotiated one of the most lucrative TV deals for the league, but that deal was quickly eclipsed as other Power 5 conferences negotiated deals worth twice as much. The Conference of Champions is an afterthought in the college football world, and this will be a primary concern for his replacement.
Bundesliga: The German soccer league is planning to not have fans until the 2021-2022 season, making it the second league to make this determination. Premier League teams are “preparing” to be in a similar position. This has not been an easy decision to make because teams are losing money at an alarming rate.