Earlier this week, we told you what's coming in 2014 for Major League Baseball and the National Football League. They aren't the only sports leagues and entities undergoing change next year. A couple of TV contracts will be awarded in new rounds of bidding. In addition, deals are ending and it will marke the end of eras in several events.
So let's take a look at what will occur in 2014. There's a lot of change coming with next year's winds.
The NBA is expected to settle its television contracts by the summer of 2014. ESPN and TNT are the incumbents but expect Fox Sports to bid heavily for the rights. CBS and NBC are dark horses, but they may be in the bidding just to increase the price for the winning network.
The NHL on TV will be undergoing massive upheaval in 2014. This week we learned about the new Rogers deal with the NHL which will change how Canadians watch their favorite sport. This season will mark the final year for the NHL on TSN and signify the end to the traditional Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts on CBC before Sportsnet takes over all of the games in 2014-15.
MLS will also be awarding a new TV contract. Currently ESPN and NBC share the rights to American soccer. Fox Sports 1 will be bidding for this as well.
Also in soccer, 2014 signifies the end of the World Cup on ESPN and Univision. Since 1994, the combination of ESPN/ABC has carried the FIFA World Cup and next year in Brazil will end the Worldwide Leader''s journey. Univision's coverage of the World Cup goes back even farther. In 2015, Fox takes over the English language rights and Telemundo with lead announcer Andrés Cantor will become the Spanish language broadcaster.
As we told you previously, Turner Sports will air the NCAA Final Four for the first time and will provide three separate dedicated feeds, an objective national feed on TBS, and two local feeds on TNT and truTV. CBS will continue to carry the NCAA Championship Game.
2014 will mark the final year for NASCAR’s triumvirate of partners, Fox, TNT and ESPN. In 2015, Fox and NBC will split both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series with Fox/Fox Sports 1 taking the first half of the racing calendar and NBC/NBCSN airing the second half including the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Next year ends CBS' relationship with the U.S. Open tennis tournament. CBS has been airing the U.S. Open since 1968. ESPN will air the entire tournament beginning in 2015.
Next year is also the end of the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC and ESPN. Fox/Fox Sports 1 takes over in 2015.
January 2014 finally brings the death of the Bowl Championship Series. In January 2015, ESPN will be the home of the first-ever College Football Playoff.
The next year will bring plenty of change in sports television. Buckle up. It's going to be a rather interesting ride.