Forecasters say sports media will go through some major changes in 2009. The biggest will be the impact of league-owned cable TV channels, such as baseball's new MLB Network. In 2009, the
National Hockey League and Big Ten Network will forge new partnerships with cable operators to increase availability of their networks, now that they air live games. Seeing this success, the
National Football League will end its legal wrangling with cable operators and make its games more widely available.
Other predictions: Universal Sports, a new cable outfit from
General Electric will become an alternative to ESPN by providing Olympic sports content year round, including coverage of skiing, to drum up interest in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
The NHL will also announce that the 2010 Olympics will be its last. It will revive the World Cup tournament every other year and reap millions from TV deals and ticket and merchandise sales.