NFL Scores New Media Deals Worth $110 Billion, Thursday Night Package for Amazon

Ryazan, Russia - March 21, 2018 - ESPN mobile app on the display of tablet PC.
Sharaf Maksumov / Shutterstock.com

Don’t be surprised if you see NFL executives do an end-zone dance after the league signed a record media deal that will pay it $110 billion over the next 11 years, or almost double the value of its previous contracts.

The new agreements with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and Amazon will take effect beginning in 2022 and 2023 and run through the 2033 season, The New York Times reported on Thursday. The sheer dollar amount should make it easier for the NFL to proceed with its plan to expand the regular season to 17 games and increase the amount it charges for broadcast rights.

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The New York Times, citing four unnamed sources, said CBS, Fox and NBC will each pay more than $2 billion annually to retain their broadcast slots with the NFL. Disney-owned ESPN will reportedly pay around $2.7 billion a year to keep airing Monday Night Football.

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Disney, whose new contract starts in 2022, will also be added to the Super Bowl broadcast rotation beginning in 2026, CNBC reported, with rights to air two Super Bowls on its ABC network. Disney also gets an expanded calendar of games and the rights to air an international game each year starting in 2022.

Amazon Prime will become an exclusive partner for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package, marking the first time that a streaming service will carry a full package of games exclusively. Amazon will pay about $1 billion per year, CNBC said, citing people familiar with the matter.

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Each of the other broadcasters’ deals also include agreements for their respective streaming platforms.

“Over the last five years, we started the migration to streaming,” said Robert K. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and chairman of the NFL’s media committee. “Our fans want this option, and the league understands that streaming is the future.”

The NFL didn’t disclose who will broadcast Sunday Ticket, a subscription service that lets fans watch out-of-market weekend games that aren’t broadcasted nationally. DirecTV holds the rights to that service through 2022.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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