E.W. Scripps is ready to spend big on bringing local games back to broadcast TV at a time when cord cutting has battered cable’s regional sports networks.
Why it matters: Figuring out the future of local sports rights is among the biggest challenges facing the U.S. sports market. And E.W. Scripps is eager to take it on.
Driving the news: Last week, Scripps announced the launch of a sports division that will seek to acquire sports rights for its local broadcast stations nationwide as well as the national network Ion, which Scripps acquired last year.
The big picture: No legacy TV industry has been battered by cord cutting like RSNs. Many pay-TV providers like Dish Network eschewed those networks rather than pay the high distribution fees.
Details: Though most of Scripps’ 61 TV stations are affiliates of the Big 4 broadcast networks, the company also owns many unaffiliated broadcast stations.
What’s next: Lawlor thinks local rights deals are headed for a contraction.
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