Pac-12 stock report: Amazon’s big audience win, the status of Pac-12 negotiations, ASU’s recovery and Colorado’s fate

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Commentary on Pac-12 developments on and off the field …

Rising: Amazon’s viewership numbers

The company that owns the world plunged into live sports this year with an exclusive contract to stream the NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ package. (Previously, Amazon had simulcast the Fox broadcast of TNF.)

While it took a week for Nielsen to report audience numbers from Amazon’s first stream of the regular season (Chargers at Chiefs), the numbers are impressive.

Amazon averaged 13 million viewers, which exceeds the 12.5 million it had reportedly promised advertisers and considerably higher than expectations within the sports media ecosystem.

“I was thinking this (would) be closer to 10 million (many thought less). Big win for Amazon,” Austin Karp, the managing editor/digital for the Sports Business Journal, wrote on Twitter.

Andrew Marchand, the New York Post’s sports media columnist, noted: “That is a very strong start for the NFL on streaming,”

The viewership numbers undoubtedly will resonate favorably across the Pac-12, which is in the middle of negotiating a media rights contract and, according to sources, is seriously considering a deal with Amazon for some portion of its inventory.

ESPN appears interested in continuing its relationship with the conference but won’t pay a dime more than is necessary.

So the Pac-12 desperately needs competition for its rights.

Amazon bid on the Big Ten’s inventory this summer but was rejected.

The Big Ten was worried about placing football on a digital-only platform and instead opted for traditional linear broadcasters (Fox, NBC and CBS).

Unlike the NFL, the Pac-12 doesn’t qualify as appointment viewing. (Nor does the vast majority of college football on TV.)

But the case for pursuing a media rights deal with Amazon is based, in part, on the timing:

‘Thursday Night Football’ would allow Amazon to gain acceptance among mainstream sports fans for two years before the Pac-12’s contract kicks in.

As a starting point, the Nielsen number (13 million) is significant.

And as the New York Post’s Marchand observed, the real audience was probably larger:

“While Nielsen’s official number is 13M for the first game, Amazon says it believes the number should be more than 15M.

“Either way, it beat what (the company) promised advertisers and most predictions.”

Falling: Timing of a Pac-12 contract

Combine our reading of the tea leaves with what commissioner George Kliavkoff said earlier this week on ‘Canzano and Wilner: The Podcast‘ — “I don’t feel, candidly, any sense of urgency at this point” — and it appears the Pac-12’s media negotiations could last well into October, if not November.

After all, It took the Big Ten approximately six months to complete its media deal — and that was with a slew of motivated bidders.

The Pac-12 doesn’t have nearly the array of networks clamoring for its content.

NBC and CBS aren’t interested.

Fox has what it really wanted (Los Angeles, via USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten).

Turner? Not that we can tell.

All of which means Kliavkoff and his team of advisors must be creative in generating interest and driving up the value of the inventory.

The conference won’t disclose the specifics of the negotiations and, thus …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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