Media

Comcast's Brian Roberts: Picking, choosing sports media rights deals "hard calls"

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the company has "had to 'pick and choose' which opportunities to go after to balance the cost of sports broadcast rights with the value they bring," according to Kennedy Rose of the PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL. Roberts during the Goldman Sachs '21 Communacopia Conference on Wednesday said that Comcast is spending about $20B "on sports and entertainment content across its NBCUniversal and Sky divisions," but Comcast has "made some changes to how it determines which sports leagues to target." Roberts added that while Comcast is "pursuing a renewal" of its Premier League deal, it has "reduced its broadcasts of Italy’s Serie A." In the U.S., NBC also "pulled out of the bidding for the NHL’s second television package." Roberts said, “These are really hard calls. You don't always want to prevail, and sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. But I think the sustainability of sports, it's a critical part of what our company does well.” “Sunday Night Football” is "off to a strong start in the first two weeks of the NFL season -- viewership is up 2%" over the '19 season, with "more than 20 million viewers each week." Roberts said that broadcasting games on NBC and Peacock simultaneously also is "bringing in new audiences," making streaming and linear a “wonderful win-win.” Meanwhile, Roberts is "maintaining optimism" for the '22 Beijing Games "after lackluster ratings" from Tokyo (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/23).

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