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SBD/October 24, 2013/Media
Sources: NFL Could Create Eight-Game Package Bringing In Up To $700M
Published October 24, 2013
NFL NETWORK WOULD KEEP SOME GAMES: Even if it shops a new package of games, the league is certain to keep live games on NFL Network. This year, the league has put an all-time high 14 games on the net, including the late Sunday night Chargers-Raiders game on Oct. 6 that had to have its game time switched because of a conflict with the MLB playoffs. Starting last season, NFL Network committed to carry 13 games per year; prior to that, it carried 8 games. Distributors pay the league a license fee of more than $1.30 per subscriber per month for NFL Network, according to SNL Kagan. Without live NFL games, the license fee would drop significantly, sources said. "I don't envision a scenario where there won't be games on NFL Network," NFL Network President Steve Bornstein said. "What we do with Thursday is really being discussed and considered right now." Bornstein was open about the league's desire to build up its Thursday night programming, though he reiterated that the league has not made firm decisions on how it would do that. He flatly denied reports that the NFL was looking into putting two games on Thursday nights, saying there was "no truth" to it. "We're trying to make Thursday a very strong NFL night, similar to what we've done on Sunday and for over 40 years on Monday," he said. "We're discussing it today. We haven't come up with any conclusions of what to do. We're considering different alternatives to make the night much more of an NFL night."
FUTURE OF SUNDAY TICKET UNKNOWN: The more pressing concern for Bornstein, who is leaving the NFL following the Super Bowl, is the Sunday Ticket out-of-market package. The NFL and DirecTV currently are negotiating to renew that deal, which expires after next season, and Bornstein said talks "are going well." "The timing of all this stuff is not anything I want to comment on because I honestly don't know," he said. NFL officials have spoken with alternate platforms, like Google, about the out-of-market package. But Bornstein dismissed the idea of a company like Google competing for existing rights. "To me, 'compete' is not the word; it's 'complement,'" he said. "We believe that the network package, along with the two cable packages that we have currently, along with what we do with our out-of-market package and how we¹ve developed the RedZone, is all complementary to the experience and rises all boats."