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Data: Sports Business Journal; Table: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Given how important live sports are to the advertising industry and the linear TV model, leagues will likely continue commanding large sums for media rights during and after the pandemic.

Yes, but: The lasting damage to the global economy — from networks cutting costs, to leagues adjusting schedules — could soften the market after years of explosive growth.

Latest media headlines: YouTubeTV and ESPN+ are both getting monthly price increases, with the former jumping from $49.99 to $64.99 (they cite "the rising cost of content") and the latter going from $4.99 to $5.99, making it the same price as Hulu.

  • Fox Sports is pivoting away from golf. The network was granted release from its 12-year, $1.2 billion deal with the USGA with more than seven years left. The rights will shift to NBC, which will produce the U.S. Open in September.
  • ESPN and CBS Sports won the rights to broadcast the first season of Athletes Unlimited, a network of professional women's sports leagues that will debut with softball in August. We interviewed co-founder Jon Patricof last month.

Go deeper: "Not so fast" for return of sports as athletes test positive for coronavirus

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Oct 1, 2020 - Sports

Barstool jumps into sports betting

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Barstool Sports was founded in 2003 as a free gambling newspaper. It later became a sports blog before growing into a media empire, and now things have come full circle with the recent launch of its own branded sportsbook.

Driving the news: The Barstool Sportsbook app saw a record 21,000 downloads per day during its first weekend (Sept. 18–20), breaking DraftKings' and Fanduel's daily records despite Pennsylvania being the only state where it was operational.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.