Over the holiday weekend, the Star Tribune published my lengthy summary of the state of regional and national sports broadcasts — and the dizzying future that might await sports viewers.
As if right on cue with the overarching notion that the future is arriving quickly and that viewing is potentially getting even more fragmented (or at least unfamiliar), comes fresh reporting even since the summary was published on yet another entity to whom we need to pay attention.
Per a report from Front Office Sports, Jerry Reinsdorf recently acquired a majority stake in Stadium Network.
This is notable for multiple reasons, including:
*The controlling stake was previously held by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of Diamond Sports — the entity that owns all the Bally Sports regional channels and is currently in bankruptcy proceedings
*Reinsdorf owns the NBA’s Bulls and MLB’s White Sox. Those two teams, as well as the NHL’s Blackhawks, are currently under contract with NBC Sports Chicago. But all of those local broadcast deals reportedly expire in October 2024.
Stadium is based in Chicago and currently shows a combination of college sports and highlights. Per the report, “further, large-scale moves are expected by Stadium in the new Reinsdorf-led structure.”
It doesn’t take much of a logical leap to imagine Stadium becoming the home of Chicago regional sports broadcasts in a little over a year. Whether it could become even more than that — like a national player in the regional sports scene for teams outside Chicago — is at least interesting food for thought.
In any event, if you weren’t previously familiar with Stadium Network before this week, add it to your growing list of outlets that already do or soon could be showing a larger menu of high-profile sports.
It’s a lot to keep track of, as Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Tuesday’s Daily Delivery podcast.
Here are four more things to know today:
*Speaking of today’s podcast, some friends of mine delicately pointed out in our group chat that there was an error by the third word of the show. No, it’s not Monday. It’s Tuesday. If you have made the same mistake coming off the long weekend, know that you are not alone — though your post-vacation cobwebs are quite possibly less public than mine.
*And speaking of the long piece I did on watching sports on TV — along with the confusion, expense and fragmentation that has become part of the experience — it is prudent to note what Andrea Yoch, co-founder of the local women’s soccer team Minnesota Aurora, reminded me about via Twitter:
Free and easy to find are increasingly rare and valuable these days, and that deal is part of the Aurora’s overall success story.
*Jimmy Butler has played in 71 playoff games, three conference finals and reached two NBA Finals since forcing his way out of Minnesota. The Wolves have played 11 playoff games, all in the first round.
*Tucked into a long ESPN story about finding and paying franchise quarterbacks was this set-up and quote:
There arguably is no task more difficult in the NFL than finding a franchise quarterback.
“If you’ve got a quarterback, you’re excited,” Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said. “If you don’t, you’re excited to go find them.”
If you already filed away Stadium Network in your memory, maybe make some space for that quote, too.