Americas Bulletin: Comcast says YES; Argentinian clubs mull OTT; Monahan eyes changes and more

SportsPro’s Americas Bulletin, dishing up a regular diet of news, views and insight from across the business of sport in the Western Hemisphere.

Americas Bulletin: Comcast says YES; Argentinian clubs mull OTT; Monahan eyes changes and more

Comcast Corporation and 21st Century Fox have struck a new carriage deal that will see the YES Network return to Comcast’s cable bundle in the New York City area, ending a bitter 13-month standoff. Comcast dropped YES in November 2015, baulking at what it said were excessive carriage fees demanded by North America’s most expensive regional sports network (RSN). Yet a 31st December expiration of Comcast’s carriage deal for the popular Fox News Channel paved the way for the new pact, providing the leverage necessary for 21st Century Fox to get YES, which serves as the local broadcast home for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets, back on air. As well as agreeing to re-carry YES, which is expected to return some time after the start of the new Major League Baseball (MLB) season this spring, Comcast has also extended agreements for a dozen other Fox-owned RSNs.

“We always said that we would continue to evaluate whether there was a way to bring back the YES Network under terms that are consistent with our commitment to providing the best programming at the best possible price,” Comcast said in a statement. “Our year-end discussions with Fox gave us a chance to revisit this, and we were able to reach an overall agreement for Fox News Channel, 12 Fox RSNs, and YES Network that makes sense for both of us – and most importantly, our customers.”

Clubs in Argentina’s top soccer league, the Primera División, are said to be considering streaming their games after failing to strike a new TV deal before an end-of-year deadline. The Argentinian government’s ‘Football For All’ scheme, which used public money to ensure all games in the league were aired on free-to-air TV, ended on 1st January, leaving the Argentina Football Association (AFA) to seek a deal with a private broadcaster. However, only Fox-Turner and ESPN-Mediapro tabled bids, both of which were deemed insufficient. According to Rapid TV News, some clubs, including league leaders Boca Juniors, are now weighing up whether to broadcast games exclusively through over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has been speaking to the Wall Street Journal this week, in what is his first interview since succeeding Tim Finchem at the helm of golf’s most powerful circuit on New Year’s Day. In the interview, Monahan, 46, reiterated the importance of reaching out to new audiences in emerging markets as well as non-golfers at home in the US. He also hinted at the possibility of shuffling the tour’s calendar to avoid clashes with the National Football League (NFL) season, refused to rule out creating a tour-owned cable network when its current broadcast agreements with CBS, NBC and Golf Channel come to an end, and confirmed that discussions are taking place with the LPGA Tour over a combined men’s and women’s event.

Elsewhere, the Peruvian Olympic Committee (COP) has missed an end-of-year deadline to pay the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) US$3.3 million in outstanding rights fees related to its staging of the Peru 2019 Pan American Games, according to Insidethegames. The COP was reportedly unable to make the payment, originally due in 2014, after failing to receive required funds from Peruvian authorities. Meanwhile Insidethegames has obtained a copy of strict new rules that dictate the way in which candidates can campaign for the presidency of PASO. Among the rules is the outlawing of gifts and deals between contenders for different positions on the body’s executive committee. Interim PASO president Julio Maglione said the aim is to improve the "transparency of this process”, with five candidates currently in the running to replace him at the body’s general assembly in April.

Also this week: USA Volleyball has named former Fanatics Inc and Versus man Jamie Davis as its new chief executive; Fifa will continue to withhold a US$100 million World Cup legacy payment earmarked for the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) as long as the under-investigation Marco Polo Del Nero remains president of the national body, according to Brazilian press reports; and Jim O’Connell, the chief sales officer of Nascar, has resigned after 11 years at the sanctioning body.

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