Some interesting talk about the NFL, which is apparently poised to announce its next TV rights deal. As I’ve noted before the contrast with European leagues and their exclusive deals is notable, with no less than 5 TV partners (NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, and NFL Network - six if you also count ABC who typically show one playoff game and the Pro Bowl). It seems to it will be more or less “as you were” for most purposes, but the speculation seems to be around the strange “produce and get some games” arrangement for TNF ending, and it going to NFL Network and Amazon with no terrestrial partner. In return ABC will get MNF back, some of the time anyway (but with all the games still on ESPN), and be back in the rotation for the Super Bowl.
ABC have started to simulcast some MNF games the odd occasion, so it's really building on that, making it more official. It's not quite like the 'old' MNF - which was the big set piece game of the week, that's now NBC's Sunday Night Football. Choices for MNF games are made at the start of the season, and unlike the other packages, can't be 'flexed' later on to show more attractive games.
The big change is ABC getting back in on the Super Bowl rotation. The current deals were for six years, with two Super Bowls each for NBC, CBS and Fox. For that reason I'd expect the new deals to be for eight years.
If Disney have got two Super Bowls for ABC in return a 30% increase in the MNF fee (already the highest fee for the least of the packages because it included highlights rights that support a lot of ESPNs programming) then they've done very well. The suggestion is that the rest of the packages - staying as they are, with one exception - will cost NBC, Fox and CBS something like double with they currently do. Around $2bn per year for each network. (ABC / ESPNs new deal likely to be about $2.6bn per year.)
One Sports Illustrated podcast I heard explained the odd situation with Thursday Night Football. Despite being amongst the highest rating shows on American TV because it's not exclusive the networks can't make any money on it. The streaming rights aren't available for them to exploit and it has to be on NFL Network to fulfil it's cable carriage contracts promising a certain number of games per season.
The big piece that hasn't been leaked yet is whats happening to Sunday Ticket, the 'out of market' package for all games not available to US viewers on a local or national broadcast. Up until now it's always been the preserve of DirecTV and a big selling point for them, but it's long been rumoured that with cord cutting they can't make it pay anymore. The suggestion - as with any rights now - is that a streaming provider will buy it instead. Although it would presumably be more difficult to ensure the correct blackouts - for locally broadcast games and/or locally played ones that have not sold out - using IP addresses rather than a subscriber's physical address as it would be now.
Last edited by UKnews on 27 February 2021 1:04pm - 3 times in total