What’s old is new.
Find the audience where they are.
Give viewers what they want.
These were some of the key themes emerging from this year’s SBJ Media Innovators event in Manhattan last week. Nearly 250 sports industry executives filled the Westin Times Square Ballroom and livestreamed the events that are shaping sports media.
Established media entities with live streaming companies like Scripps, Nexstar/CW and Gray TV explained why and how they are making bold moves in live sports, both nationally and locally. The fragmentation of the RSN market has allowed these established media entities to find a path into sports with teams like the Suns, Golden Knights and Jazz, as well as larger properties like NASCAR, LIV Golf and the ACC. While OTA may seem like the TV industry of yesteryear, it provides necessary distribution to many properties that feel uncertain about the state of RSNs (to which Magic CEO Alex Martins, alluded to). Each team and league whose games are broadcast on third-party RSNs develops contingency plans.
But innovation remains crucial for the company. That could be ESPN tapping Disney’s vault for a “Toy Story”-themed NFL game or YouTube TV picking up “Sunday Ticket.” These could be new leagues looking to attract new audiences, such as Overtime Elite, the Sport Fishing Championship or the World Surf League. This innovation also means delivering content to audiences where they consume media in today’s modern media ecosystem. This thinking is behind what Monumental Sports is doing with its RSN and DTC efforts, as well as how the Bruins are reshaping their team-owned NESN.
Also check out key takeaways from the conference by John Ourand in the next issue of SBJ Media Monday evening.
Check out a preview of some sessions from Thursday’s event:
A private reception was held Wednesday evening before the event at the Snap Penthouse in Midtown on W. 43rd Street, hosted by Snap Global Head of Sports Partnerships. Anmol Malhotra (a recent Forty Under 40 winner).
Among those seen at the event were the Magic’s Alex Martins And Charlie Freemanthe next league Dave NugentInner Circle Sports Steve HorowitzYahoo Sports’ Ryan Spoonthe NBA Amanda ThornGeorgeOctagon Daniel Cohen And William MaoDAZN Joe Markowskithat of the NFL Ingrid Petrithe PGA of America Jeff PriceLiveLike Miheer WalavalkarSport fishing championship Brand NeufeldExcel Sports’ Brody MankusSBJ Abe Madkour, Austin Karp And Jean OurandZoomph’s Andy Polachek and LBH Sports & Entertainment Lee Berke.
NASCAR Brian Herbst I took a quick trip to Manhattan. The track’s media specialist had to travel to Phoenix the next morning for the NASCAR championship weekend.
Longtime safety and current NBC/Westwood One NFL analyst Devin McCourty was chatting with people in the lobby before his closing session for the day.
With such a development in the NBA and NHL RSN situation, there was only room for Thursday’s first session. Attendees lined the walls as NBA players Bill Koenig and the NHL David Proper presented where their respective leagues see things.
As a child of the 90s, WWE Steve Braband was excited about his company’s “Playback” effort. Who has The entrepreneur And Humanity going back and giving new commentary surrounding a Hell in the Cell match between the two from 25 years ago.
A number of people around the NBA were excited to talk about the tournament’s first in-season games that kicked off Friday, and specifically which specially painted courts would receive the most buzz.
Deion Sanders is never one to sit still. SMAC Productions FredAnthony Smith joked about how this definitely extends to production around the documentary series his company is making with Coach Prime for Prime Video.
The leaders were more than happy to mingle at the end of a long day of sessions. Among those seen chatting with colleagues at the cocktail party was Areto Lab. Kasey MachineNBC Tyler MintzPerkins Coie’s Shirin Malkani1896 Associates André BrunConnect Partnership Group Andrew Fishkinby Veritone Pierre LeoneGray Sports/Raycom Sports’ Joel Lewin and the Sport Fishing Championship Scott Becher.
“When you partner in arena sales, each category is essentially exclusive because it’s within the walled garden. …But this does not extend to linear. So all these beer distributors that we were never able to approach before, we can now come (to them) and they can be associated with our teams” — General Manager of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Friday Abernethy, on the benefits of the new MSE RSN.
“We had a very exciting opportunity from Nexstar to, essentially, operate a fifth national network for the entire season and create destination programming, all broadcast on television” – Brian Herbst, SVP/Media and Production of NASCAR, on the Xfinity Series deal. with The CW from 2025.
“In 2012 2013, with all the talk about concussions, I don’t think people – the NFL – (knew) how popular football would remain. And it is, and flag football is a big reason” – NBC/Westwood One NFL analyst Devin McCourty on the NFL’s growing interest in flag football.
“Our athletes compete between 100 and 300 meters offshore in potentially incredibly hostile conditions: big waves, lots of wind, lots of noise. Now they can see on their wrist, as they sit in the lineup 300 yards offshore, exactly the score they need to pass the person in front of them. » – CTO of the World Surf League Robert Occhialinion the league’s enhanced scoring technology with a proprietary Apple Watch and cloud infrastructure.
“People can have confidence in this Sunday, but it is a priority for us that we are responsible for delivering the exceptional experience that we promised to our viewers. So we take this very seriously and we have done everything possible to guarantee it. it won’t happen again” – YouTube Global Head of Sports Partnerships Lori Conklingon the recent technical issues that hit YouTube TV during an NFL Sunday.
“Mat told me that… ‘sure, money matters, but the most important thing to me is the fan experience and reach'” – Suns/Mercury CEO Josh Bartelsteinon the owner Matt Ishbiapursuing a media rights deal after the implosion of the RSN situation in Phoenix.
“There is a market for everyone and every type of content and channel, and you need to understand that and reach those people” — President of Jazz Jim Olsonon the Jazz+ DTC service, reaching more than 15,000 subscribers in the state of Utah.
Thank you to all of this year’s Media Innovators sponsors!
We also look forward to seeing the industry come together on November 29 and 30 in Washington for our Dealmakers eventwhich brings together senior executives from sports, finance, media and technology for two days of open discussions focused on the high-stakes financial ecosystem within the sports industry.