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CHICAGO TRIBUNE EXAMINES THE "CRAZY" BIDS FOR NFL TV RIGHTS
Published November 24, 1997
When the NFL completes its TV rights negotiations, a combined $7B will be committed by five networks over the next four years, according to Jones, Kirk & Hirsley of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Jones, Kirk & Hirsley: "The competition for pro football TV rights, which may be resolved within the next two weeks, is a cutthroat, price-inflating game of musical chairs. ... Therefore, the price for the rights will likely be 50 percent higher than the $4.6 billion contract awarded in 1993. ... Is the bidding crazy? Sure it is. Stupid? Probably not, because in the media economy created by televisionland, enormous leaps in sports rights contracts are part of the game." Westinghouse Chair Michael Jordan: "The sports business, you have to recognize, is a zero- profit business. We all essentially run the sports business at break-even. Hopefully." Jones, Kirk & Hirsley add that for advertisers, football "is demonstrably the most efficient way to reach men." FCB Senior VP/Dir of Media Scot Butler: "Because prime time is eroding so quickly, sports from an advertising standpoint becomes more attractive. They [sports ratings] are holding steadier than anything else out there" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/22).