NBA Silver talks ‘distressed’ RSN

By | November 15, 2022

We have assembled an all-star lineup for our Media Innovators convention in New York on the finish of the month: Jimmy Pitaro, Mark Lazarus, Jay Marine, Rob Weisbord, Omar Raja. The main points are right here.

Adam Silver made headlines final week after talking publicly about Kyrie Irving’s scenario for the primary time throughout an interview at SBJ’s Dealmakers convention in DC.

Nevertheless it was Silver’s feedback concerning the media trade that I discovered most attention-grabbing. The NBA commissioner painted an image of a altering native media rights market — and a scorching nationwide media rights market. Silver did not mince phrases after I requested him about Sinclair. “Sinclair/Diamond Sports activities, there is no doubt they’re in misery. You’ll be able to simply see what the debt is buying and selling at.

It is not simply Sinclair. It’s the entire RSN firm, which has injected cash into native groups for many years, which is struggling. “It is not likely working for anybody proper now,” Silver mentioned. “It clearly does not work for RSNs, it does not work for distributors. And most significantly, it does not work for followers in these markets who need to see these video games. »

Attainable options embrace streaming video games or, as Silver put it, “perhaps TV will come again into the combo.”

Silver: “You now have a market downside the place you had these conventional offers locked in as exclusives the place to get these rights you needed to subscribe to conventional cable and satellite tv for pc. You are actually seeing an enormous variety of shoppers shifting away of those conventional fashions, however they nonetheless need to receive these sports activities rights however can’t receive them in the meanwhile with the prevailing mannequin.

Silver warned that groups will really feel “a little bit of ache” within the quick time period. “However long run, the outlook remains to be extremely good as a result of we all know followers need to devour this content material.”

Trying to the longer term, Silver expects to see a buyer base nonetheless watching native video games by way of a conventional cable/satellite tv for pc subscription. Different prospects can pay to look at matches nonetheless they will (on a cellphone, for instance) and wherever they’re (on the go, maybe). “Over time, there is no doubt you will outgrow the variety of followers who historically do this,” Silver mentioned. “There are many extremely helpful homes that can proceed to be prepared to pay an actual premium to safe these sports activities rights. It is most likely not unique because it was traditionally.


Over the previous week, among the greatest media and tech manufacturers have introduced plans to downsize, together with Disney, Amazon and Meta.

The jitters within the economic system have but to have an enormous impact on the sports activities media trade. By all accounts, advert gross sales for the largest occasions proceed to repay. However the cuts in conventional media firms will definitely have an effect on the sports activities sector as properly. Listed below are those to be careful for:

  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek introduced a hiring freeze and restricted enterprise journey, in keeping with an inside memo he despatched Friday afternoon. “Throughout this analysis course of, we are going to overview all operational and workforce alternatives to seek out price financial savings, and we anticipate some employees reductions.” In his be aware, he didn’t specify what number of jobs can be lower. He additionally gave no indication of the place the cuts can be made. Nevertheless it’s clear that Disney+’s lack of profitability is behind this resolution and it appears possible that ESPN can be affected.
  • NBC Sports activities laid off an unknown variety of staff final week. An insider described the variety of layoffs as low, largely occurring on the digital facet. It emerged final month that NBCUniversal was contemplating voluntary early retirement presents as a method to lower prices and keep away from larger layoffs. The plan would prolong the supply to staff over the age of 57, in keeping with The Hollywood Reporter.

Amongst “new” media entities, the cuts seem like even higher after these firms have spent years quickly rising their employees:

  • Final week, Meta started shedding 11,000 staff, or 13% of its workforce, together with cuts that hit the group’s sports activities enterprise. Meta additionally prolonged its hiring freeze by means of the primary quarter and continued to chop spending. The cuts come as the corporate’s digital actuality and augmented actuality companies are dropping billions of {dollars} a yr, with no signal of profitability in sight.
  • Amazon is shedding 10,000 staff, or about 3% of its staff, in keeping with Karen Weise. Early indicators recommend the sporting group is unlikely to be closely affected. The group has grown quickly due, partially, to its resolution to solely characteristic “Thursday Night time Soccer” this season. Nevertheless it’s price noting this quote, from Weise’s story, about the concept Amazon’s e-commerce enterprise is dropping billions this yr. “They must overview every part,” mentioned John Blackledge, an analyst at Cowen & Co. “It is simply not sustainable.”


I discovered it tedious to funnel browsing from Amazon Prime to conventional linear TV channels. To entry Amazon Prime, I’ve to click on on the app, await it to load, then click on on the sport I need to see. To return to conventional linear TV, I’ve to give up the app.

On Nov. 3, in a uncommon NFL vs. World Sequence recreation the place the identical markets have been taking part in in each video games, new knowledge from Nielsen reveals just a few folks tried to channel the surf.

The Texans scored a landing on the workforce’s first right down to take a 7-0 lead. Instantly after the landing, “Thursday Night time Soccer” went on business break. It was at this precise second that Fox noticed its World Sequence viewership develop from 10.8 million viewers to 11.6 million viewers.

Fox noticed one other viewers bounce when the NFL recreation went to halftime. The World Sequence averaged 12.1 million simply earlier than halftime and jumped to 14.2 million throughout halftime. A lot of these followers caught with baseball.

We went deeper into Thursday’s numbers with Nielsen on this week’s SBJ.


  • Ray Warren, the chairman of Telemundo Deportes, will retire sooner or later in early 2023, making the FIFA World Cup the final main occasion in his profession which incorporates lengthy stints at ABC, Raycom Sports activities and NBC RSN . Warren, who will spend your complete World Cup in Qatar, spoke with my colleague Alex Silverman about Telemundo’s plans.
  • Fox Sports activities Radio started carrying “The Paulie & Tony Fusco Present”. The podcast options two former Colin Cowherd producers — Andrew Samson and Sharief Ali — who painting two die-hard Philadelphia sports activities followers.
  • NASCAR has sought to reinvent its schedule to some extent to woo media firms, with formal talks set to start subsequent yr on the game’s subsequent cycle, notes SBJ’s Adam Stern. NASCAR presently receives a median of $820 million per yr from Fox and NBC.
  • Amazon Prime Video averaged 6.8 million viewers for Falcons-Panthers in Week 10, marking the least-watched NFL recreation Thursday night time since Jets-Broncos in Week 4 of the pandemic-hit 2020 season drew 5.4 million on NFL Community, notes SBJ’s Austin Karp. The viewers this season continues to be youthful, with 66% below the age of 55 and a median age of 46, eight years youthful than the NFL common on linear tv.
  • Brendan “Coach Beard” Hunt (of “Ted Lasso” fame) and NBC Sports activities’ Rebecca Lowe will co-host a World Cup-related podcast for Apple Information known as “After the Whistle.” Apple will produce the pod in partnership with Meadowlark Media. The primary episode is November 17.
  • Washington Submit editor Steven Ginsberg will lead The Athletic, in keeping with Semafor’s Max Tani. “His appointment as head of Athletic comes at a vital time for the sports-focused information group, which has been a supply of drama inside the Occasions company.”
  • Warner Bros. Discovery has began telling GolfTV subscribers that it’s going to shut down the streaming service subsequent month. The service’s dwell protection can be moved to the Discovery+ or Eurosport digital platforms.
  • Please be a part of me tomorrow as I reasonable the seventeenth Annual Povich Symposium at my alma mater, the College of Maryland. The panel consists of prime journalists Christine Brennan, Mike Preston and Ken Rosenthal alongside the athletes they cowl: Katie Ledecky, Torrey Smith and Mike Bordick.