As reported by Daniel Kaplan and John Ourand in this week’s issue of Sports Business Journal, the NFL’s broadcast TV partners, CBS, Fox and NBC are about to finalize a deal to renew their contracts with the league. The deals would begin with the 2014 seasons. Each network would pay over $1 billion per season which would be a 60% increase from their current rights fees.
According to the SBJ story, it would be an eight year deal extending through the 2021 season. Here are some of the particulars as outlined by Kaplan and Ourand.
- CBS, Fox and NBC would be able to stream games on tablets possibly as early as next season.
- The NFL has the right to hold back games from CBS and Fox to create an early season cable Thursday Night Football package.
- Sunday Night Football could get the right for flexible scheduling earlier in the season. Currently, flexing begins in Week 11.
- Mobile phone streaming rights would still be retained by Verizon.
- All contracts are based on a 16 game season.
The rights fees from the networks when the deal is said and done would amount to over $24 billion. That’s an amazing number. And the networks are willing to pay the fees because of the power of the NFL and the ratings the games generate.
The league is not commenting on the story. The networks have not made anything public. The deals are expected to be finalized sometime later this month. Official announcements according to the Sports Business Journal may not be made until next month.
Of course, we’re following the story. It all means that the upheaval the NFL saw in its last three TV contracts (Fox replacing CBS for the NFC in 1994, CBS kicking out NBC for AFC rights in 1998 and NBC and ESPN displacing ABC for primetime in 2006) is over. There will be stability among the main five TV partners for 16 seasons when the new deals are said and done. There will be a record 6th TV partner coming into the league very soon.