Disclosure: Affiliates controlled by the writer of this column have long positions in Disney.
It was a pretty good day for Disney's ESPN — a dinosaur, according to its critics — even though it's the leading and most profitable sports cable channel.
On Wednesday, it:
- announced it has hired away Katie Nolan from FS1;
- confirmed it will work with Cycle Media on creating and distributing new sports content with its advertisers;
- said it won the sports rights for Formula 1 racing.
In addition, various reports, including this one from Bryan Curtis, said that the Pardon My Take guys (Big Cat and PFT Commenter) from Barstool Sports were close to signing a deal with ESPN to do a late-night show on ESPN2.
And don't forget ESPN re-upped its deal with Altice on Sunday.
Rich Greenfield of BTIG had been counting down to the expiration of the deal, expecting ESPN, Disney, and ABC to go dark across major parts of New York.
Except it didn't. The deal increased affiliate fees and brought carriage of the SEC Network to New York, according to The New York Times. This was the first of many new distribution deals that need to be worked out this year and now gives a good template for those to follow.
Here's a deeper look at each of these bits of news: