The Fourth Quarter of Sports Media, Part II with Ed Desser — Kosner Media

John Kosner
6 min readJan 15, 2021

Original Article: Sportico, by Ed Desser and John Kosner, January 15th, 2021

Last week, we wrote about electronic sports media heading into its “fourth quarter”-a new streaming epoch driven by developments in tech and entertainment. Today, we examine how the business will further evolve this decade.

We expect the incumbent sports networks to lock in historical advantages (existing rights, relationships, distribution, revenue and brand names) with expensive new NFL agreements, in time for a 17-game regular season.

However, sports will also start to make sense for entertainment streamers, because it offers compelling, day-to-day, original content that provides continuity to help businesses built around hit-driven binge viewing and shows to fit everyone’s filter bubble of taste. (Recall USA Network launched with entertainment-plus MLB, NBA and NHL). In fact, other than gaming and the occasional blockbuster movie, sports may be the last category with broad enough appeal to attract the remaining streaming holdouts. Sports is appointment viewing, an advertising magnet and a means of counter-programming against services with stronger libraries like Netflix. Managing churn is also likely to drive seasonal sports acquisitions (e.g., The Masters), particularly for non-football…

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John Kosner

John Kosner is best known as the leader who built ESPN into the world’s leading digital sports destination from 2003–17. Https://www.kosnermedia.com