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Volume 24 No. 117
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Tagliabue Discusses Strategies For Maximizing Media Rights Fees

To build a successful media strategy and maximize rights fees in the future, properties need to foster competition and invest in technology, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said during a one-on-one interview at the '12 Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference today. Tagliabue pointed to moves he made at the NFL as an example of what he meant.

When he took over as NFL commissioner in '89, the league had broadcast rights agreements with CBS and NBC and a new, small agreement with ESPN. There was very little competition in the marketplace, but the league fostered competition on the broadcast side by selling rights to Fox and on the cable side by selling rights to TNT. The league also invested in technology by partnering with DirecTV to make all games available on a “Sunday Ticket” package.

Tagliabue said, “When you deploy your rights, you have to understand you can encourage technology and structure competition in a way that gives you a sustainable environment over the long run. You can’t just focus on what your rights fee is going to be or what your audience is going to be. You’ve got to as a rightsholder invest in technology – directly or indirectly – and invest in competition. ... As long as you keep investing in innovation, technology and competition you’ll be OK if you have a product that drives that.”

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