1) HBO and the NHL will end its partnership for 24/7
The third season of the hockey-themed edition of the HBO series has been troubled from the start. Boring personalities (at least as they've come across on the screen), a seemingly stoic format and coaches of both of the team involved denying HBO cameras access to the locker room after losses.
With the NHL launching their own "access-driven" program with NHL Revealed (premiering on NBCSN on Jan. 22), you have to wonder if it makes 24/7 a redundancy, with the NHL striking a balance between inside access and keeping their clubs happy. The ratings aren't anything to write home about, so perhaps an amicable divorce is in the cards for the league and the network.
- Steve Lepore, @stevelepore
2) Dan Sileo will get fired from at least 3 more jobs in 2014
The Florida based radio host hasn't run out of stations that have employed him, and thus have the ability to fire him, just yet.
- Reva Friedel, @revafriedel
3) NHL Network will be worth watching
Consider this a bold prediction. As things currently stand, NHL Network is really only worth watching for games and highlights. In 2014, the league will finally (hopefully) realize all of the opportunities they've wasted and shift NHL Network into the channel hockey fans deserve.
- David Rogers, @frozennotes
4) NBC will win a new NFL rights package
The NFL will put up a package of eight Thursday Night, two-three Saturday night and one playoff game up for bid in 2014. NBC will overbid and win the package. NBCSN will air the Thursday games. NBC will air the Saturday night games and then parlay the postseason game into a Sunday Divisional Weekend doubleheader giving the Peacock three playoff games total.
- Ken Fang, @fangsbites
5) People will actually miss the BCS and controversy will only increase
Many, many people who clamored for an end to the BCS will miss its uniformity. The selection committee has yet to lay out what their standards will be for the Top 4 – only conference champions, Top 4 in the BCS, etc. – but having individuals to blame will be a lot more fun than a computer algorithm.
- Jonathan Biles, @jonathan_biles
6) Fox Sports will have to get creative to increase its live sports rights
Fox Sports will come up empty handed in landing Big Ten rights (to the delight of Clay Travis) and will find itself with a marginal NBA package, if any at all. With not much in the pipeline in terms of sports sports rights, Fox will look to either buyout the UFC or take a stake in the Pac 12 Network depending on who is more motivated for a liquidity event.
- Ben Koo, @bkoo
7) Chris Cotillo will prove he was not a one-year wonder.
The 18-year-old baseball reporting wunderkind thrust himself into the national spotlight at the 2013 winter meetings by scooping some of the game's most trusted reporters. He's now gained their respect (and become the target of their jokes), by getting news before them and giving them proper credit when he doesn't.
Cotillo will do more than just appear on MLB Network for a couple of segments in 2014. He'll prove 2013 was no fluke by continuing to break news like a seasoned veteran. He'll be given an even larger role with SB Nation, and he'll make regular radio and TV appearances while getting job offers from multiple mainstream media outlets.
-Josh Gold-Smith, @GoldAndOrSmith
8) Some good news for MLS on the TV front
In spite of disappointing ratings, MLS will see a near 100% increase in rights fees with their new TV deal this year, showing the immense power and value of live sports. Fox Sports will win the rights to both MLS and USMNT games for the 2018 World Cup cycle in the lead-up to their broadcast from Russia. The increased rights fees will be a much needed cash infusion for the league and could be a landmark moment for American soccer.
9) MLB is a big boost for FS1
Fox Sports 1’s MLB coverage shines, and their mid-week live games will actually outrate MLB Network’s live games in 2014. Weekend ratings will do much better than the games have done on Fox broadcast television. Even though MLB ratings will take a step back overall, MLB games will be a bright spot for the network and compete with ESPN and TBS's packages.
- Joe Lucia, @joe_toc
10) Sportswriters continue to migrate online
I think we're likely to see a wave of other high-profile journalists moving to online-only outlets in 2014. SB Nation's made a few of those moves (Rob Neyer, David Roth, Glenn Stout) and Bleacher Report really got into that this year (Howard Beck, Mike Freeman, Ethan Skolnick, etc). I expect both of those sites to keep hiring big-name guys, and others may well join in too. Combine the continuing revenue struggles of many newspapers and other traditional outlets with many web-based outlets' desires for splashy hires, and I think you get a situation where we're going to see more and more notable names migrate.
- Andrew Bucholtz, @andrewbucholtz
What are your predictions for 2014? Leave them in the comments below.