By Ari Meirov
The NFL is reportedly close to finalizing a deal for its top revenue stream.
According to Peter King of NBC Sports, the NFL is “within a month” of finalizing 10-year TV deals with its network partners. The expected deal “could result in an aggregate increase of 70 to 100 percent in rights fees from the last contract.”
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported in December that the league was in discussions on a deal that could exceed $100 billion in total value over 10 years.
The current expectation is that CBS, FOX and NBC would keep their Sunday package.
The destination for the Thursday night package remains unclear, but Amazon is considered the favorite, per King. Whether the Thursday night package would include a cable element like NFL Network, or simply be telecast on local channels of the two participating teams is still unknown. FOX holds the rights for Thursday Night for the next two years.
Monday Night Football would stay on ESPN and could potentially simulcast on ABC. ESPN, however, wants a stronger Monday night schedule. King mentions in his column that there is a possibility of a late-season flex option for Monday Night Football.
Marchand’s report in December also mentioned that ESPN/ABC could be added to the Super Bowl rotation. ESPN+ is a contender to replace DirecTV for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package, according to CNBC.
With the salary cap expected to drop in 2021, Jabari Young of CNBC reported last week that the NFL is looking to finalize frameworks of a deal before the setting of this year’s cap number. In that scenario, some of the money to be earned in the TV deals could be shifted the coming season and the cap number wouldn’t drop as much as originally expected. Getting the deals done now could provide the league with the influx of cash to offset the 2020 losses due to the COVID pandemic.
ESPN’s deal for Monday Night Football is set to expire after the 2021 season. The deals for FOX, CBS and NBC run through the 2022 season.
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