The TV sports industry will be relieved that, around 12:30 AM today, The AP is quoting NBA Commissioner David Stern as saying, “We’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin December 25th. He confirmed the two sides reached a “tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations”. Already, the league had cut 10 games from the normal season in a revised schedule which would mean a big hit on ad revenue for ABC/ESPN, TNT/Turner and regional sports networks that hold lucrative TV rights to games. The tentative end to the 148-day lockout was reached after a secret meeting earlier this week when the sides met for more than 15 hours Friday, working to try to save the season. Now this handshake deal still must be ratified by both owners and players. A majority on each side is needed. The NBA needs votes from 15 of 29 owners. (The league owns the New Orleans Hornets.) The union needs a simple majority of its 430-plus members. Under the deal, a 66-game season would begin on Christmas. Stern had said the league needs about 30 days from an agreement to when games could be played, and that deadline created a sense of urgency.
Before now, the NBA’s locked-out players had rejected the league’s latest offer for a new collective bargaining agreement today, with union executive director Billy Hunter calling the proposed deal “extremely unfair.” … Read More »
The NBA’s locked-out players rejected the league’s latest offer for a new collective bargaining agreement today, with union executive director Billy Hunter calling the proposed deal “extremely unfair.” He said the players’ association is beginning the process of disbanding the union — the first step in filing an antitrust action against the league and sending the whole mess to the courts. It’s the same tactic the NFL’s players used during their lockout over the summer, but this time the move could jeopardize the entire NBA season; already, the league had cut 10 games from the normal season in a revised schedule as the two sides remain far apart in contract talks. It would mean a big hit on ad revenue for ABC/ESPN, TNT/Turner and regional sports networks that hold lucrative TV rights to games. Commissioner David Stern had called the latest labor offer the league’s best, proposing a 50-50 split in revenue between players and owners. He said the next offer on the table will be much less favorable: a 53-47 split in favor of the league.
UPDATED: ABC’s game show Million Dollar Mind Game (formerly The Six) is finally getting its day in the sun after almost a year on the shelf. But there is a twist — ABC is scheduling the series, originally developed and ordered for primetime, on Sunday afternoon. Million Dollar Mind Game, which is based on the hugely popular Russian game show What? Where? When?, will premiere October 23 and air in the 4-5 PM Sunday slot. The highly unusual move was made in light of NBA’s recent decision to cancel the first two weeks of the basketball season. While ABC doesn’t carry NBA games so early in the fall, the network decided to do a trial run as a contingency in case the entire NBA season is canceled. ABC owns the time period and has been throwing repeats of shows like Dancing With The Stars in it. But an original with a $1 million prize? Million Dollar Mind Game features teams comprised of six people who all know each other — co-workers, friends, teammates, etc. The teams take turns tackling a series of logic-based questions, which they have 60 seconds to discuss and decide upon an answer, for a chance at winning the $1 million grand prize. The show is hosted by UK presenter Vernon Kay and produced by Merv Griffin Entertainment. I hear the series came in below expectations. Still, it’s sad to see a show that is far … Read More »
The NFL is shopping an eight-game Thursday primetime TV package, with commissioner Roger Goodell having informal conversations with networks last week, according to the Sports Business Journal, which is reporting that a stake in the league’s NFL Network might be in play for the winning bidder. The talks are expected to gain momentum now that the league-imposed lockout is over. The NFL Network currently has rights to eight late-season Thursday NFL games; the new package will cover the early season. The SBJ says Turner and Comcast would be front-runners, especially since they have cut previous deals that included league-owned assets (Turner pacted with the NBA in 2007; Comcast has a similar deal with the NHL). Fox and ESPN also are expected to be interested in the package. … Read More »