On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the rush by sports leagues to begin production on docuseries that might attract new fans. Shows like the NFL’s Hard Knocks and F1’s Drive to Survive have helped both leagues present another side of their competition, and others are taking note.
In the past few weeks, both the PGA Tour and various tennis governing bodies have announced Netflix shows of their own. That follows another sports-centric series, Cheer, being among the most-watched shows on Netflix in the last few days. All these rights holders are looking to use the shows to both satisfy existing fans, and maybe attract people who don’t regularly watch matches.
The hosts also talk about the latest developments in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s march toward a standalone, digital streaming platform. The company (Nasdaq: SBGI), which owns more than 20 regional sports networks, is looking to launch that service in April, and according to a recent filing, it is targeting a monthly price of around $20.25. That would be roughly three times the current price for ESPN+, which has a larger collection of content but would lack the same access to local teams.
Next, the hosts discuss Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of gaming publisher Activision-Blizzard, a deal that could upend the industry and launch a new round of consolidation and M&A. They close with a conversation about Golden State Warriors minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya’s controversial comments, the latest chapter in a tenuous relationship between the NBA and China, and a $25 million investment into professional women’s hockey.