SBD/December 21, 2011/Media

NFL Network Could Add More Live Games Next Season, Though Number Is Unknown

Rolapp said additional NFL Network games will come from Sunday schedule
NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp confirmed that NFL Network may "increase its slate of eight live games as soon as next season," according to Aaron Kuriloff of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Rolapp said that the number of additional games "hasn’t yet been decided" by the NFL, which last week "extended by a record nine years its broadcast rights agreements" with CBS, Fox and NBC. Rolapp said yesterday, "Doing these contracts essentially opened up a way to create more games for the NFL Network, and I think it’s very likely you’ll see those next year. How many games is still in question, but I think we’re committed to putting more games on the network and improving the service." Kuriloff noted NFL Net gets about $0.73 per sub, making it the "fourth-most expensive in the U.S." After years of "feuding with multichannel operators over pricing, the network is now in about 60 million homes, about half of U.S. homes with television, according to Nielsen." Rolapp said that additional NFL Network games will "come from the Sunday schedule, after the league was able to give broadcasters additional digital rights and other perks to help increase the value of their packages" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/20). Despite the "likelihood of additional" "TNF" games, Rolapp said there is "no plan for a surcharge for our affiliates." MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds noted in "mapping its primetime equation, NFL Net will have to replace one game, as the Thanksgiving night contest it has been airing shifts to NBC under the new rights deal, beginning in 2012" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 12/18).

SUPER STREAMING: The NFL announced yesterday Super Bowl XLVI will be streamed online and to phones for the first time, and NFL Senior VP/Media Business Development Hans Schroeder said, "Whether it's just for a quarter if somebody has to run out to the store to get something they forgot, now they can stay connected to the game." Schroeder: "With such a big television audience, it will be interesting to see the expanded reach." NBC's streams for its "Sunday Night Football" broadcasts "typically average 200,000-300,000 viewers," and the net has "seen no evidence it hurts the traditional broadcasts' healthy TV ratings" (AP, 12/20). In N.Y., Claire Atkinson notes for those who "own Verizon 3G phones, there will be a $10 charge to access the Super Bowl via Verizon Video, the service that includes the NFL app, while 4G phone owners will get it for free" (N.Y. POST, 12/21). Meanwhile, a CTV spokesperson said that the net "has no plans to follow NBC's lead at this time" (TORONTO STAR, 12/21).
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