Warner Bros. Discovery Picks Sports Chief to Navigate Streaming Era

 

Warner Bros. Discovery, the media large created by the fusion of the house owners of HBO and “90 Day Fiancé,” has picked an govt to handle its billions of {dollars} of sports activities rights, one of many cornerstones of the corporate, in accordance to folks with information of the choice. The firm now has the rights to video games from the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

The govt, Luis Silberwasser, shall be answerable for ushering the corporate’s sports activities programming — which incorporates “Inside the NBA,” the NCAA March Madness males’s basketball match and playoff baseball — additional into the streaming period. The choice is anticipated to be introduced on Thursday, stated the folks, who would communicate solely on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to talk about the appointment.

Mr. Silberwasser has been probably the most senior executives at Univision, which this 12 months closed a $4.8 billion cope with Mexican media large Televisa to create a Spanish-language media colossus. He is president of TelevisaUnivision Inc. U.S. Networks Group, reporting to Wade Davis, Univision’s chief govt.

Mr. Silberwasser has a longstanding relationship with David Zaslav, the chief govt of Warner Bros. Discovery, who oversaw Discovery earlier than it merged with WarnerMedia this 12 months. Mr. Silberwasser was an govt vp at Discovery, answerable for content material at Discovery Networks International, throughout a tenure on the firm that ran greater than a decade. His title shall be chairman and chief govt of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.

Mr. Silberwasser, who’s Latino, is one of some executives of coloration on Mr. Zaslav’s administration workforce. He joins Savalle Sims, the corporate’s common counsel, and Channing Dungey, the chairman of Warner Brothers Television Group, who’re Black. Warner Bros. Discovery has taken steps to diversify its board of administrators, and Mr. Silberwasser’s appointment makes him probably the most highly effective Latino executives within the U.S. media trade.

Mr. Silberwasser will want to maintain programming prices underneath management whereas the value of reside sports activities rights soars. Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav has informed Wall Street the corporate shall be disciplined about its spending on content material, however he additionally needs the corporate to proceed to be a serious participant within the sports-media enviornment. Those two objectives might be at odds.

One outstanding instance: The N.B.A. Warner Bros. Discovery pays an average of about $1.2 billion per 12 months for the rights to present N.B.A. video games nationally, a part of a nine-year settlement signed in 2014. That settlement is up after the 2024-25 season, and the N.B.A. is anticipating its charge to sharply improve in the course of the subsequent spherical of negotiations given the rising recognition of the N.B.A. globally, in accordance to an individual acquainted with the settlement.

There is little doubt Warner Bros. Discovery could have to pay extra to proceed displaying the N.B.A., which is a high draw for its cable channel TNT and sports activities web site Bleacher Report. The N.F.L. almost doubled its media income from rights agreements signed final 12 months, and the N.H.L., Southeastern Conference and different sports activities leagues have seen enormous will increase in lately accomplished offers.

Mr. Silberwasser shall be answerable for managing Warner Bros. Discovery’s U.S. sports activities portfolio and setting the corporate’s world sports activities technique. The firm’s worldwide sports activities portfolio, together with the Olympics, shall be managed by Andrew Georgiou, the president and managing director of WBD Sports Europe. Lenny Daniels, the president of Turner Sports, and Patrick Crumb, the president of regional sports activities networks, will report to Mr. Silberwasser.


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