Breaking Sports

Friday, July 15, 2005

nhl- More on broadcast Rights

ESPN programming chief Mark Shapiro said on Thursday that he has spoken with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and let him know ESPN would be willing to pay, but that the $60 million figure is no longer realistic.
"I don't know exactly what we would pay yet," said Shapiro. "We are looking into that, but it is definitely south of sixty million. But we would pay a fee, at least it would give them something."
Back when it dropped its option, Shapiro said he would be willing to pay a "modest" fee, something under half the $60 million.
Shapiro said Thursday that the league will eventually be better for the lockout, but that in the near term "they are damaged and the rights fee has to reflect that."
Shapiro said Bettman "wants to do the deal we had on the table and that deal's not there anymore. We have a good relationship and when they are ready to talk about alternative models, we'll be right there."
But he didn't sound sanguine about his prospects of getting the rights. When asked whether the league would get its asking price, he said: ""Somebody will [pay], there's always somebody, whether it's Spike or someone else. Everyone said they have nowhere to go, but there's always somebody."