FOX SPORTS: WRITTEN CONTENT OUT; VIDEO IN

Fox Sports (FOXA), in an effort to attract eyeballs and advertising dollars, has decided to eliminate 20 writing and editorial positions, and replace them with jobs in video production, editing and promotion. The company is hoping that the significant investment in video content will drive advertising growth for both its web & TV programming. Ad sales for digital video are up 39% YOY since 2009.

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Fox Sports Cuts Web Writing Staff to Invest More in Online Video

Howie Long-Short opines: Was anyone reading this stuff to begin with?

Fan Marino says: I’m concerned for millennials. They lack interpersonal communication skills due to their obsession with texting/smart phones. Is illiteracy next? It’s also very weird to go to a website without any written content.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS TO OFFER SPORTS-FREE STREAMING BUNDLE

Charter Communications (CHTR), the country’s 2nd leading cable provider (behind CMCSA), will be introducing a sports-free streaming service under its Spectrum brand. The bundle will include 25 news & entertainment channels, but NO sports channels, for just $19.95/mo. The base package does not include any ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports or CBS Sports channels.

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Charter Communications testing a sports-free skinny bundle offering

Howie Long-Short opines: The break-up of the bundle continues. ESPN is a victim of their own success. Margins and subs are under pressure, though still hugely profitable. As for sports leagues, OTT could actually lead to more bidders and ever-higher value for sports rights.

Fan Marino says: ESPN is paying 4x the amount paid in 2015-2016, for NBA games through the 2024-2025 season. The 2nd leading cable provider is planning on offering a bundle without ESPN. When does the cost of programming begin to exceed the revenue generated from NBA broadcasts?

KNIGHT: NOT EVEN TIGER IN HIS PRIME COULD MAKE GOLF EQUIPMENT PROFITABLE

Nike (NKE) co-founder Phil Knight said in an interview that aired on Wednesday (6/28) on Bloomberg TV, that despite Tiger Woods’ enormous success and popularity, “we lost money for 20 years on equipment and balls”.  The company exited the golf equipment space in 2016, while Woods has since signed an equipment deal with TaylorMade. Adidas (ADDYY) sold TaylorMade Golf earlier this year, to PE firm KPS Capital Partners, for $425 Million.

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Nike lost money on golf equipment for 20 years, according to co-founder Phil Knight

Howie Long-Short opines: Nike poured money into R&D in golf’s version of an arms race for years. The space is finally rationalizing, which should be good for those left.

Fan Marino says: I can’t help but think that Tiger’s little 2009 Thanksgiving incident, wasn’t exactly the catalyst Nike needed to turn a profit on golf equipment.

NBC SPORTS SELLING SUBSCRIPTIONS TO STREAM PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES; CABLE NOT REQUIRED

NBCUniversal (CMCSA), the parent company of NBC Sports, announced it will be offering a direct to consumer streaming package consisting of 130 live Premier League games, for just $50. Subscribers of the “Premier League Pass” will not need to be cable subscribers, but hardcore fans will still want to keep their cable subscription. NBCUniversal plans on continuing to show games on its broadcast network and on the NBCSN & CNBC cable channels.

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NBCUniversal will stream Premier League soccer games, no cable subscription required

Fan Marino says: Read the fine print. “Package will feature at least 3 games per club.” I’m trying to follow my squad as they pursue a title. I need ALL of their games, not a variety pack.

Howie Long-Short opines: Agreed. That’s a pretty penny for garbage.

NIKE: BEATS Q4 ’16 EARNINGS/REVENUE EXPECTATIONS; INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIES & DTC BUSINESS FUEL GROWTH

Nike (NKE) reported Q4 ’16 profits and revenue on Thursday, that exceeded analyst expectations ($.60/share vs. $.50/share and $8.68 Billion vs. $8.63 Billion, respectively). The company said international geographies and its direct to consumer business fueled the growth. Analysts and investors were told to expect mid to high single digit growth in 2018.

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Nike tops Wall Street expectations; confirms deal with Amazon

Howie Long-Short opines: The beauty of low expectations. Under Armour (UAA) and Adidas (ADDYY) have been cutting into Nike’s market share recently, but this is a good start.

Fan Marino says: Nike started selling Air Jordans in 1985 and the company is reporting Jordan Brand saw strong growth in 2016. Can you imagine Steph Curry still selling shoes for Under Armour in 2046?  Yeah, me neither.

UNDER ARMOUR: HIRES PATRIK FRISK AS PRESIDENT/COO; PLANK TO REMAIN CEO

Under Armour (UAA) has hired former Aldo CEO Patrik Frisk to run the company’s day to day operations as President & COO. Founder Kevin Plank will remain as CEO. The move comes just 2 months after April’s announcement that the company had its first losing quarter since going public in 2005.

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Under Armour brings in new president; Plank remains CEO

Howie Long-Short opines: This looks long overdue.

Fan Marino says: If we’re talking sneakers; I’ve got NikeAdidas and Reebok (ADDYY). If we’re talking athleisure; it’s Lululemon (LULURhone and Aesthetic Revolution. Mr. Frisk has his work cut out for him.

FB: PARTNERS WITH FOX SPORTS TO LIVESTREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GAMES

Facebook (FB) and Fox Sports, the sports network owned by 21st Century Fox (FOXA) have partnered to livestream the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s top-tier soccer tournament, on the social media platform, effective September 2017. The partnership will span more than a dozen matches between the group round and quarterfinals, including some that will be exclusive to Facebook and Fox Sports GO. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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Facebook in deal to live stream soccer with Fox Sports

Howie Long-Short opines: This smacks of desperation for Fox Sports, potentially empowering a competitor for some short-term cash. But early stage Champions League is still not exactly a top draw in the US…

Fan Marino says: Facebook has live streaming deals in place with MLB, MLS, La Liga and now Champions League. Great news if you are a cord cutter who wants to watch soccer and post viral dog trick videos.

FOXA, SKY & SSP: INVEST IN STREAMING SERVICE FOR THE SPORTS FAN

21st Century Fox, Inc. (FOXA), Sky Plc (SKY) and Scripps Networks Interactive (SSP) have invested in an online television service, with a focus on the sports fan.  FuboTV raised $55 Million to expand their channel lineup and improve technology. The company intends to compete in an increasing competitive field that includes Sling TV (DISH), Playstation Vue (SNE), DirectTV Now (T), YouTube (GOOGL) & Hulu (TWX).

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-19/fox-scripps-join-55-million-round-for-fubotv-streaming-startup

Fan Marino says: Do you hear that noise?  It’s me opening up the junk drawer and pulling out my scissors. We’re an ESPN and ESPN2 away from the snip.

NIKE: LOOKING TO FIGHT COUNTERFEITING ON AMAZON; WILL SELL SNEAKERS DIRECT THROUGH SITE

Nike (NKE) has agreed to join Amazon’s (AMZN) brand registry program, in an effort to curb counterfeiting and non-licensed selling within the e-commerce marketplace. The partnership will also enable Nike to sell sneakers directly to Amazon customers, through the parent company site. Competitors, Adidas (ADDYY) & Under Armour (UAA) already have direct-sales deals in place with the company.

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Bloomberg: Amazon Will Sell Nike Shoes Directly Through Brand Registry

Howie Long-Short opines: Better late than never for Nike. This is not such great news for Foot Locker (FL).

Fan Marino says: Love this. Now I can have both my locally sourced produce and my new paid of J’s delivered via drone.

AMAZON: LOOKING FOR $2.8 MILLION/PER NFL TNF AD PACKAGE

Amazon (AMZN) who paid $50 Million for the rights to stream 10 2017 primetime Thursday Night Football games, will be charging $2.8 Million for each of the 10 30-second ad packages, they’ve been allotted. The games which will air simultaneously on CBS & NBC (CMCSA) television networks, will stream live and be available to subscriber’s of Amazon’s $99/year Prime delivery & video service. Twitter (TWTR), who paid $10 Million for the rights in 2016, reportedly sold packages for between $2-8 Million.

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Reuters: Amazon to charge $2.8 million for NFL ad packages

Howie Long-Short opines: Amazon clearly has big ambitions in the video space. And short term profits aren’t among them.

Fan Marino says: Having the ability to stream a game and converse in real time within the same platform, provided Twitter users with a unique sports viewing option. It also didn’t cost $99/year. Not a fan.