SBD/December 5, 2011/Media

NFL Nears Renewals With Broadcast Partners; Rights Fees Expected To Jump More Than 60%

Each broadcast net will pay annual average of at least $1B for rights to carry NFL games
The NFL is "close to renewing TV deals with all of its broadcast partners that will result in massive rights fee increases of more than 60 percent across the board, underscoring the unrivaled strength of NFL programming," according to Kaplan & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Each of the broadcast nets for the first time "will pay an annual average of at least $1 billion for the rights to carry NFL games." The "expected windfall from CBS, Fox and NBC will be worth more than a combined $24 billion over the next eight years." Sources said that they "expect the deals extending through the 2021 season to be finalized this month, though a formal announcement may come later." The broadcasters’ current deals "end after the 2013 season." The league and its broadcast partners "have agreed to general deal terms that are similar to the NFL’s deal with ESPN, which was announced in September at a 63 percent increase." The nets "will obtain the rights to show games on tablets as part of the media industry’s TV Everywhere initiative." Broadcasters "expect to be able to offer games on tablets as soon as next season," but sources said that the two sides "have not reached agreement on that point yet." Broadcasters also have "pushed for the rights to stream games to mobile phones, but the league sold those rights exclusively to Verizon last year." All deals "have been negotiated on the basis of a 16-game schedule," and sources said that "none of the deal terms contemplate expanding to an 18-game schedule." The agreements are "expected to close by the end of the month and could be ready for a vote as soon as next week’s owners meeting in Dallas." Meanwhile, Spanish-language rights also "are being negotiated." None of the NFL’s Sunday afternoon games are currently available on Spanish-language nets in the U.S. (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/5 issue).
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