SBD/Issue 232/Sports Media

NFL Approves Two-Year Extension Of NBC TV Deal Through '13

 NBC Will Continue To Broadcast 16 Regular-
Season "Sunday Night Football" Games Annually
The NFL and NBC Sports yesterday announced a two-year extension of their broadcast partnership through '13. NBC will continue to broadcast 16 regular-season "Sunday Night Football" games annually; each season's "NFL Opening Kickoff" Thursday Night primetime game; both playoff Wild Card Saturday games; and preseason primetime games. The flex scheduling system also will remain in place for the final seven weeks of the season. The agreement brings NBC's deal in line with those of CBS, Fox, ESPN and DirecTV, which also run through '13 (THE DAILY). BROADCASTING & CABLE's John Eggerton reported NBC's rights fees will jump about 2% from the current approximately $600M annual payment, "in line with what CBS and Fox paid for their extensions" (, 8/19). Colts Owner Jim Irsay said, "It's a good thing to see that we're able to continue with our network partners and be on free TV and go forward. It's a challenge. ... You look at all the other sports and we're looking at our league and getting games sold out and dealing with the new economy and those sorts of things. I think that's where the challenge is right now. In terms of the NBC deal, and Fox and CBS and all the deals, we're very fortunate to be able to move forward and get deals done." Texans Owner Bob McNair added, "It just speaks to the strength of our brand and the popularity of the sport and the competitiveness of our teams, top to bottom" (, 8/19).

FUTURE PLANNING: In L.A., Joe Flint writes the NFL is "making a big bet on 2014," when its four major TV deals all are set to expire. The league either will have "incredible leverage or find itself in a deep hole, depending on what the media landscape looks like five years from now." While the NFL has "always been shrewd at negotiating steady increases in the rights fees it gets from its TV partners, having four major deals expire at the same time is not without risk." Some believe that it is "better to stagger your renewals as a hedge of protection should the economy go south or there is a big drop in ratings that could make the property less appealing." There also could be "fewer bidders in 2014, as broadcast networks are under extreme pressure to cut costs" (L.A. TIMES, 8/20). CABLEFAX DAILY notes there is going to be a "bidding bonanza surrounding pro football games" in '14, "setting the stage for possibly more games on cable" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 8/20).

"Sunday Night Football Extra" Returning
For Second Season
STREAMING GAMES AGAIN THIS SEASON: The NFL and NBC Sports this year plan to stream all 17 "SNF" games live to and, marking the second consecutive season the two have produced "Sunday Night Football Extra." The effort consists of NBC's broadcast feed plus video from four other camera angles. The biggest change this year will come from the back-end technology being used to power the service. "Extra" will use an HD-quality player using Microsoft Silverlight. The video player will allow users to pause, rewind and slow the speed of the video. The Web sites will include analysis and in-game chats from NBC's talent. A source said Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is slated to host one of the chats weekly (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

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