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ESPN INCREASES LOCAL NFL INVENTORY, FEES MAY RISE AS WELL
Published April 14, 1998
In an effort to offset its new $4.8B NFL deal, ESPN is "pushing cable operators to pay up to 20% more money in license fees" starting August 1, according to John Dempsey of DAILY VARIETY. Cable system execs say they're being asked to pay increases that "could funnel as much as" $156M in additional revenues to ESPN, which would "go on top of" the $536.9M that ESPN "harvested" from cable-operator license fees in '97. Also, according to sources, ESPN has told cable operators that "if they sign new contracts by June 1, they'll get a break in pricing," and that the break will be "extended if the cable system gets" ESPN into more than 95% of its households. However, one cable operator said that "even with those price breaks," the fee increase "will propel his total bill to ESPN to more than $1 a month, making it by far the most expensive nationally distributed service for most cable operators" (DAILY VARIETY, 4/14). E-SPIN: ESPN announced late last week that it will provide 46 additional local 30-second spots to its affils in its 18-game NFL Sunday night package. The total number of ads will increase 10% from 459 in '97 to 505 in '98. ESPN will also increase local spots by 26% on all studio and NFL- related programming, including "NFL Primetime" (ESPN).