ESPN President John Skipper said the net is intent on remaining a broadcast partner with the NBA and he expects “to be aggressive in doing that.” Skipper said during ESPN’s Media Day yesterday, “There are plenty of live sports rights, but the ones that make a difference are scarce.” He called the NBA a “critical product” for ESPN and added there are “not many things that move the needle like that.” The net’s current rights deal expires after the ’15-16 season, and there have been rumors Fox will make a heavy play for the NBA to add content to the new FS1.
Skipper addressed speculation that web-based platforms are increasingly competing for major sports rights, saying, “It is incomprehensible to me that the NBA would decide to put their games on a digital platform, and that sports fans are going to make a transformation, saying, ‘I’m going to go to Yahoo to watch my games tonight.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think they have any way to monetize those rights in the same way that traditional (networks can).”
ESPN issued the following statement: “Due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home, ESPN is discontinuing ESPN 3D. We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates. Nobody knows more about sports in 3D than ESPN, and we will be ready to provide the service to fans if or when 3D does take off.”
A while ago, we compiled A Recent History of NBA Players Going Broke list. While it was unintentional, all of the players on the list were African-American. A majority of the players on the “Broke” episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 episode are black as well. The installment focuses on the financial rise and fall of certain athletes. It’s also an installment that NBA Commissioner David Stern finds “mildly racist.”
Stern sat down with Wall Street Journal’s Lee Hawkins and spoke about his opinions on “Broke”: Actually, it’s a lot of money for any socioeconomic group. So it wouldn’t be fair to think about the image of a poor black kid from the ghetto. That isn’t the prototype. The prototype is pretty sophisticated kids who’ve been guiding their way to get here. Because so many of them are African American, I viewed the entire story as mildly racist.