Fox, CBS and NBC did multi-billion, multi-media contract rollovers with the NFL today, extending their partnerships nine more seasons through 2022 and securing the league with plenty of more comfort and financial joy now that their collective-bargaining agreement has been settled.
Multiple reports are that the three networks will pay a total of $3.1 billion each year, split nearly evenly. That’s up from a combined $1.9 billion the three are currently paying.
Add to that the $1.8 billion annually from ESPN, who earlier this year did an eight-year extension on the “Monday Night Football” through 2021, and another $1 billion a year from DirecTV for exclusive “NFL Sunday Ticket” rights.
That makes a combined $7 billion a year that NFL will get in media rights starting after 2013.
The new wrinkle in this contract: NBC will add a primetime game on Thanksgiving night beginning in 2012. It will also swap out a wild card game for a divisional playoff game, and there is “enhanced” flex scheduling that affects its “Sunday Night Football” package.
The NFL says the expanded flex scheduling starting in 2014 will also give CBS, home of the AFC, and Fox, home to the NFC, the ability to switch conference regional games to wider audiences. Further details will be “developed with the networks,” the NFL said.
The deals also allow the NFL Network to expand the number of Thursday night games — it does eight now in the second half of the season. A new number yet to be determined.
The NFL’s current TV agreements were to expire after the 2013 season.
With the championship game rotation in tact, NBC will do the Super Bowl XLIX (2015), LII (2018) and LV (2021). CBS will do Super Bowl L (2016), LIII (2019) and LVI (2022), in addition to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013. Fox will get Super Bowls LI (2017), LIV (2020) and LVII (2023).
And everyone quoted in a written press release couldn’t sound happier.
“The National Football League is the greatest television property in the world and we are thrilled that it remains the cornerstone of Fox Sports and the FoxNetwork well into the next decade,” said David Hill, CEO of the Fox Sports Media Group. “Everyone at Fox Sports looks forward to presenting the NFL, television’s ultimate reality programming, providing our viewers with the finest pregame, game and postgame coverage possible for many years to come.”
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke: “This is a great day for NBCUniversal and the NBC Sports Group. There is no more powerful programming on television than the NFL and no better program than Sunday Night Football. The long-term agreement announced today provides us with significant enhancements to our existing NFL package, ensures that we will continue our partnership with the NFL for many years, and adds tremendous value to the many assets of NBCUniversal. We could not be more pleased.”
And CBS Corporatoin CEO and president Les Moonves: “The NFL provides terrific, exciting programming to our viewers week-in and week-out. No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does. The league has proven time and again that it understands the importance of a healthy broadcast partner, and this historic new agreement strengthens that partnership. In addition, the deal continues CBS’s ability to be profitable with the NFL throughout the coming decade and beyond.”
“These agreements underscore the NFL’s unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has,” Commissioner Goodell said. “The agreements would not have been possible without our new 10-year labor agreement and the players deserve great credit. Long-term labor peace is allowing the NFL to continue to grow and the biggest beneficiaries are the players and fans.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the three networks “have served NFL fans with the highest-quality television production. The networks will continue their outstanding coverage of the NFL while also helping to deliver more football to more fans using the best and most current technology.”
The nine-year terms are the longest for NFL TV deals with over-the-air broadcast partners. CBS, Fox and ABC had eight-year deals from 1998-2005.