NFL negotiating new multi-billion dollar deals

18 May 2009 | Posted in Features - Insights | By Michael Long | Contact the author

The National Football League (NFL) has entered negotiations with Fox and CBS to extend their respective television deals until the end of the 2013 season. If the broadcasters agree, CBS will screen the 2013 Super Bowl, with Fox taking the following year, in agreements that will be worth nearly US$3 billion to the league.

Earlier this year the league renewed DirecTV's Sunday Ticket broadcast deal, just the latest agreement of many that have seen money pour into the league in recent years. Fox currently pays more than US$700 million per year for its NFC package, while CBS pays US$620 million to screen the AFC on a Sunday afternoon. Last season, Fox averaged 17 million viewers per game, while CBS drew an average of 16.2 million.

Those figures are strong enough that both broadcasters are thought likely to agree a five per cent increase on those fees for the next two years. Neither, however, is thought willing to commit to a longer deal with the economy still uncertain.

"I'm real happy with the piece of the NFL we get to televise, as I'm sure CBS, Fox and ESPN are," said Dick Ebersol, NBC sport chairman, in an exclusive interview with SportsPro earlier this year in which he predicted all the league's broadcasters would renew their deals, and no one company would try to take on the league's rights as a whole. "We want to maintain our own rights and do well with them." Ebersol described the NFL as, "the single best content in the entire media spectrum, not just sports."

February's issue of SportsPro magazine featured an in-depth interview with Dick Ebersol, arguably the most important figure in US sports broadcasting. For more information about SportsPro magazine, click here.

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