John Ourand


[ 00:00:19 ] What kind of question is that that SportsBusiness Journal has been around since the mid 90s was owned by American city business publishing and now HCB day American city. It’s owned by American city business journals based in Charlotte North Carolina. We’re a weekly magazine that covers sports where a weekly magazine covers the sports business.

[ 00:00:53 ] Now what is. I’m a reporter. What do you do as a reporter.

[ 00:00:58 ] Now everything has changed since that launch. Now what we’re doing a lot of podcasts we do a lot of digital stories you know with Twitter we’re sort of always on. So whereas we used to wait write our stories get them edited and have them come in and print publication every Monday. Now sometimes We’re writing stories and having to post them on the Internet right away or we’re writing stories and we’re just trying to figure out how best and when best to break those stories and it’s just become everything’s become much more immediate. And the day is no longer you know an eight hour day.

[ 00:01:31 ] Now that day is pretty much your weight your waking hours.

[ 00:01:41 ] But we also have Sports Business Daily and Sports Business Daily comes out every three times a day nine o’clock. About 12:30 and 4:00 o’clock and with three different additions that are filled with all the kinds of news on the sports business. And that’s a schedule that’s been SportsBusiness daily schedule for it for a long time. So it’s get that schedule what what we found though is sometimes a story won’t hold between 9 and 12:30. So we have to do something to get it out you know in those ensuing know three three and a half hours so it is a it is something that we that’s always changing and it’s always getting so much quicker and what we cover the business of sports so we what we write about we really don’t care about what happens on the field of play. I mean most of us are fans so we do care about what happens to it at that level. But we write about the business of sports and since we’ve launched the business of sports has just grown a ridiculous amount. I mean if you take a look at my beat which is the media beat and take a look at the media rights that people are that that television networks have been paying leagues to get their media rights and they’ve grown you know they’ve more than tripled and double that sometimes they quadruple within one within one. Within one segment of one they did it that’s a great question and all of the leagues are trying to take a look at how to how to grow internationally. So you have a league like the NFL the NFL is as big a sports league as or possibly is and it’s grown pretty much as big as it could possibly grow in the United States there’s still some room for growth.

[ 00:03:45 ] But the more wild growth that they want to see that’s all international That explains why they’re doing these. They play four games a year over in London explains why they go and visit China with a couple of you know pre-season games.

[ 00:04:00 ] Explains why the NBA is playing games in Europe and Africa and all over all over the world. All the other leagues see the international markets as the biggest room for growth. Let’s take US soccer for an example. More people are watching soccer now than ever before. And you have a network like NBC that has the rights to the English Premier League and they play it on the weekends and people watch it and the ratings have been pretty good. You take a look at the World Cup ratings both men’s and women’s.

[ 00:04:37 ] They’ve been through the roof. So it’s I think that slowly but surely this isn’t like the 1970s and 1980s when you know Americans kind of didn’t watch soccer at all. MLS is is a growing league. It’s nowhere near where the NFL is or the NBA is but there’s a there’s a growth trajectory if you take a look at what a lot of these teams are paying are a lot. If you take a look at what a lot of people are paying and paying to own an MLS team you’d be shocked. People see a big growth potential in soccer in this country and I think that if there is a sport that that generates excitement it’s going to work here. And I think soccer is finally starting to do that. I think that the people one thing that I’ve noticed with sports if you go to ESPN com homepage or Sports Illustrated Dotcom’s home page very few of the stories that are the most read stories have anything to do with the play on the field its about all field activities and a lot of times business comes into that. And so I think that people do care about their teams to the extent that they do want to know when they’re running up against the salary cap they do want to know if they can afford a certain player that they can try to get. I mean this is part of the investment that they make in supporting and liking the team. And so I definitely see that they follow sports business more so than just regular business certainly yeah.

[ 00:06:12 ] ESPN used to be the 800 pound gorilla. Now it’s the 750 pound gorilla. So they’re still by far the biggest company that’s in the sports business right now certainly in sports media. So they’re going through a lot of the problems that every other network is going through whether it’s sports or whether it’s entertainment. There are a lot of cord cutters and people are watching programming in different areas and with ESPN they’re spending a lot more for it right. So. So they’re getting hit from both ends of it which is why it seems like like it’s much worse than it is. But I would love to have ESPN problems right now and they still make a lot of money for Disney and they’re still doing quite well. They want the system to exist the way it is and what the NFL and the NBA and Major League Baseball wants they want to make sure that their media rights stay as high as possible.

[ 00:07:09 ] So their love and loyalty to ESPN probably lasts as long as Amazon comes into the picture as long as Facebook comes into the picture because they want to get the most amount of money for their content and they want their content to be seen by content in games and they want the games to be seen by as many people as possible. So what we’re seeing right now in my opinion is that the sports industry went from being all on broadcast television to being mostly on cable television and you’re starting to see slippage to where it’s going to move from cable television to some of these streaming companies like Facebook or Amazon or Twitter that have already done deals for sports the leagues like the way the ESPN and like the way the broadcasters treat their teams that treat their productions. It’s produced in a real professional manner and it’s very easy for people to get turned on to it and watch it.

[ 00:08:17 ] They don’t know yet about Amazon Amazon just did a deal for it for the NFL while those games at Amazon is going to stream are being produced by NBC Sports and CBS Sports. The Twitter deal with the NFL. Again those were produced by CBS and NBC. We still don’t know if these companies are going to be able to produce a high quality man or some of these games and that’s something that if you take a look at the NFL they’re still not completely bought into cable. They keep all their games on broadcast television because they want as many people as possible to see it and they like the way that the broadcasters produce their games. The NFL wants the NFL Network and the NFL Network is in you know about 70 million homes and it’s and it’s a place where they wanted to put their games what the NFL realized when they put their games on NFL Network. It is that they’re serving their hardcore fans who go to the NFL Network. While my mother would never watch the NFL Network but she does watch CBS so she could if she could see as a casual fan when the Washington Redskins play she could sit and watch on Fox. You know most of the Redskins games will never watch the Redskins game on NFL Network. So what the leagues benefit from by selling these games to selling the rights to these games to the broadcasters and to the cable companies is just a wider distribution than they could and then they can provide. And that’s something that that the networks also pay them a lot of money. So they would be giving up you know in the NFL case billions of dollars in order to put those games only on NFL owned properties. And it’s unlikely that they will do that at least in the foreseeable future.

[ 00:10:18 ] One of the hottest topics in sports business right now is e-sports and e-sports is basically people watching other people playing videogames which you might not think is a sport. I don’t want to get into that argument whether that’s a sport or not. But you know these competitions have sold out Madison Square Garden and they attract this young demographic that is just not watching television. And the reason that’s important is that the advertising that supports television they want to reach other people and so that because advertisers have an interest in it because they’re they’re going after this young demographic. Now all the media companies are trying to figure out what they can do. Now TNA teams NBA teams are investing in it. NHL teams are investing in it. There is so much interest and money flowing into this one area that I just find to be really surprising at Sports Business Journal. We have a beat writer that is assigned to cover sports. So it’s a real it’s a real business out there.

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