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Mike Valenti: Leagues Are Going to Cause Sports Rights Bubble to Burst

NBC’s Big Ten schedule is just a couple of weeks away from kicking off, but 97.1 The Ticket host Mike Valenti isn’t thrilled about the Peacock-exclusive aspect of the deal.

NBC is paying $350 million a year as part of the Big Ten media rights agreement, and in addition to Saturday night primetime games on NBC, eight games will be carried exclusively on Peacock. That includes Michigan State’s game at Iowa on September 30.

Valenti’s co-host Rico Beard said he knows the fact that there will be streaming-only games will ruffle a lot of feathers.

“Honestly I don’t know why. Because if you want to watch it, it’s just the day and age we live in,” Beard said Tuesday on The Valenti Show. “You find ways to watch what you want to watch. If you want to watch your team, you just get it. Now you can complain about it, but you were probably – not you Mike – the same person saying ‘Well now I gotta go buy an HD TV because they’re changing technology on me. Now I gotta go get this.’ Well you don’t have to, but times are changing.”

Valenti argued that the shift from standard definition to HD wasn’t a good comparison. Streaming is just a hassle.

“Those things better your life,” Valenti said of HD TVs. “Streaming is a complete pain in the ass when you’re trying to watch a game. When I’m watching a show, I don’t need to turn a show. I’m watching the show. When I’m watching a game, I’m watching four games, six games, ten games. I don’t want to be locked in. I don’t want to be on their platform. Now luckily it doesn’t impact my life that much, because I’m not even sure I want to watch Michigan State this fall. The point is, I don’t have to like it.”

Mike added that everything Beard said was idealistic, and although it’s likely true, it’s not realistic. He pointed to Amazon and the Thursday Night Football package and all the problems that came with that in its maiden campaign in 2022.

“Garbage video quality, garbage buffering, garbage broadcast, and a lot of people didn’t even know where the F the games were,” he said.

Valenti went on to say that the rise of streaming-specific broadcasts just shows the rise in greed by the sports leagues and conferences and how willing the networks are to acquiesce.

“I think we have bastardized all of it,” he said. “Sports, they’re fat and happy right now. The whole bubble’s gonna blow up. They’re making every decision where we the people come last. They’re making every decision. Quality’s out the window, regionality’s out the window, rivalries are out the window. Name a sport right now, forget about college football, name any of these big time sports where rivalries have been prioritized. You can’t do it.”

“I don’t want any part of streaming land with sports,” Valenti added. “I don’t like it. It’s not for me.”

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