ESPN INCREASES LOCAL NFL INVENTORY, FEES MAY RISE AS WELL
In an effort to offset its new $4.8B NFL deal, ESPN is
"pushing cable operators to pay up to 20% more money in
license fees" starting August 1, according to John Dempsey
of DAILY VARIETY. Cable system execs say they're being
asked to pay increases that "could funnel as much as" $156M
in additional revenues to ESPN, which would "go on top of"
the $536.9M that ESPN "harvested" from cable-operator
license fees in '97. Also, according to sources, ESPN has
told cable operators that "if they sign new contracts by
June 1, they'll get a break in pricing," and that the break
will be "extended if the cable system gets" ESPN into more
than 95% of its households. However, one cable operator
said that "even with those price breaks," the fee increase
"will propel his total bill to ESPN to more than $1 a month,
making it by far the most expensive nationally distributed
service for most cable operators" (DAILY VARIETY, 4/14).
E-SPIN: ESPN announced late last week that it will
provide 46 additional local 30-second spots to its affils in
its 18-game NFL Sunday night package. The total number of
ads will increase 10% from 459 in '97 to 505 in '98. ESPN
will also increase local spots by 26% on all studio and NFL-
related programming, including "NFL Primetime" (ESPN).