NFL rights jump to US$1 billion per year

The National Football League (NFL) has signed a deal extending DirecTV Group Inc's long-term broadcasting rights to the league for a further two years. The satellite broadcaster will continue to exclusively show the NFL Sunday Ticket, a subscription based package, through to the 2014 season.

The National Football League (NFL) has signed a deal extending DirecTV Group Inc's long-term broadcasting rights to the league for a further two years. The satellite broadcaster will continue to exclusively broadcast the NFL Sunday Ticket, a subscription based package, through to the 2014 season.

The deal ups the value of the NFL rights to US$1 billion a year, a rise of US$300 million on  DirecTV's previous agreement. It will see the introduction of a DirecTV NFL broadband service, as well as a new 'Red Zone Channel', which DirecTV will offer to other broadcasters, where viewers will be able to see live cut-ins of all Sunday afternoon games. Both services will begin within the next two years.

"We are pleased to extend a partnership with DirecTV that has complemented and supported our broadcast television packages for 15 years," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "We are looking forward to having the Red Zone channel on cable and other media platforms as well as showing NFL Sunday Ticket via broadband to the homes that cannot get satellite. This new content enhances our tradition of being the most pro-consumer, widely available sport on television."

Despite cutting 150 jobs recently, the NFL continues to generates annual revenues of US$7 billion and remains largely recession proof. Eric Grubman, the league's executive vice-president, said: "We are a giant platform, a giant billboard. In this environment where advertisers are feeling strained in their own budgets, we are insulated from it in the short to medium term because of television contracts.