A new player.
Just in case you have not noticed, AT &T has taken over Time Warner in a major media deal. AT & T also now owns Turner Sports which includes various partnerships including Turner’s deal with the National Basketball Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association and one of the major sports TV events, the Men’s College Basketball Tournament. AT & T, prior to the takeover of Time Warner had a small interest in two properties, the MLB Network and one regional cable TV group, that includes Root Sports and three other regionals. AT & T does own DirecTV and has the NFL Sunday Ticket. AT & T is the title sponsor of college football’s national championship playoffs. Additionally AT & T has the marketing naming rights to the San Francisco Giants baseball park.
It is far too early for AT & T as it just picked up Time Warner to project where the company is going in terms of sports media packages. Not too many American sports TV contracts are available as Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League along with golf and tennis and Olympics rights deals are not expiring anytime soon. But AT & T might be a player as there could be a regional sports network shake up. Disney bought a number of Rupert Murdoch’s FOX assets including regional cable sports networks. Disney might have to sell off the FOX regional sports networks to gain that regulatory approval. That is where AT & T could make a deal. It is reported that AT & T might put in a bid for Chicago Cubs cable TV rights as a deal between Cubs ownership and Comcast expires after the 2019 season. The sports TV landscape is about ready to change again with AT & T having a seat at the negotiating table.