WHEN: Today, Tuesday, July 25
WHERE: CNBC x Boardroom Game Plan Summit
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of the Business of Live Sports panel that took place today, Tuesday, July 25th, live during the CNBC x Boardroom Game Plan Summit in Los Angeles. The panel featured speakers including: Jessica Berman, National Women’s Soccer League Commissioner; Aryeh Bourkoff, LionTree Chairman & CEO; Jay Marine, Amazon Global Head of Sports, Prime Video and James Pitaro, ESPN Chairman.
Video can be found on CNBC.com
Mandatory credit: CNBC x Boardroom Game Plan Summit.
JIMMY PITARO ON DTC
We are obviously very aware of what’s happening in the traditional television world. And, we – that business model has been very good to ESPN and the Walt Disney Company. It continues to be very good to the Walt Disney Company. At the same time., Bob and I have been clear that taking our channels, our flagship channels direct to consumer is when, it’s not if. By the way when I do want to clarify something when we do that it’ll be in parallel with the traditional world.
JIMMY PITARO ON PARTNER INTEREST
We are going to be making our flagship channels available direct to consumer. And yes Julia as a part of that we are interested in partners. Partners that we think can make the flagship product more compelling. And so we’re looking at things like distribution, technology, marketing, and content and yeah, Bob and I have had conversations, we’ve been having conversations. It’s early but we’ve both been very pleased by what I’ll call a healthy level of interest in ESPN.
JIMMY PITARO ON PARTNERS
Can’t comment on who we’re talking to. I will, I will emphasize the fact that we believe that there are parties out there that can help us on the content side. And so you can, you can draw whatever conclusions you want from that. But, you know, my priority is when we do launch flagship channels directly to the consumer a la carte, that the content proposition is as compelling as it can be.
JIMMY PITARO ON NBA RIGHTS
That partnership is incredibly important to ESPN. It’s incredibly important to the Walt Disney Company. We have games on ABC, we have finals on ABC. I don’t think the relationship has ever been better between the NBA and Disney and ESPN. As we, as we look out at what we could potentially do here, one of the things we’re focused on is production innovation. Like we can’t, you’re watching an NBA game it can feel like it’s 1997 like we have to continue to push here and identify new alternative broadcasts, new camera angles, new ways to present these games digitally within our app that. That’s the priority right now. But yes, we love this relationship and it’s important to us.
JIMMY PITARO ON SPORTS BETTING
It’s definitely a growth business from our perspective and we, we’ve been in this space for quite some time From a news and information and odds perspective. We have link out deals with a couple of partners but we do believe that there’s a financial growth opportunity there for us and we plan on continuing to expand our participation in the space.
JAY MARINE ON NBA RIGHTS
We already have a relationship with NBA. We broadcast their games in Brazil today. First of all fantastic league – global, young. They’ve done just an absolute fantastic job. We’ve been very public, we’re we’d be very interested and would love the opportunity to grow our partnership with them. And with all of these things, you know the economics do matter. Of course. You know, we traditionally with sports rights will be aggressive but rational. And I think that’s at least for us, that’s the right approach. But listen, every sports broadcaster would like to be in partnership with NBA.
JAY MARINE ON WOMEN’S SPORTS
I can’t imagine a world where women professional sports is not dramatically bigger when you look out in the future. Because I think it just hasn’t had the visibility and the access. So again, when you see something that can grow like that, you want to get in early and then hopefully I believe Amazon can help grow those, those sports as well. So we’re very bullish on that.
JESSICA BERMAN ON SPORTS BETTING
I think FanDuel has released some data around women and women enjoying betting as a vehicle to engage in fandom. And so we’re interested in exploring that further on the long list of many growth opportunities that we have in front of us and excited to explore it because I think it’s just one of the vehicles that we think about when we think about interactivity with our fans and providing fans with an opportunity to engage actively in our sport.