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Volume 25 No. 49
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Another NFL Ratings Drop Could Impact Nets' Standing On Wall Street

The NFL’s TV ratings are being monitored on Wall Street, with some financial analysts saying that another big ratings drop could affect the standing of some broadcast companies. “We continue to believe the NFL is the single biggest swing factor for media earnings and valuation,” read a research note released this morning from MoffettNathanson. “Any sign of continued NFL ratings weakness could pose a long-term risk for broadcasters who may be forced to bid up for rights.” The most interesting part of the report looks into the next round of rights negotiations, with the report suggesting that ESPN should drop its “MNF” package in order to pursue “SNF” instead. The report calls Disney’s current “MNF” package a "rotten deal with … a cost/rating point ratio that is 260% to 400% more expensive than any other package." The report goes on to say, “One of the more interesting theories that we still think has a higher probability of playing out is if Disney instead targets the more valuable, but lower-priced Sunday Night Football package, currently at NBC. We believe Disney should reclaim the Sunday primetime package by paying a significant premium to the existing costs. Even if they pay $900 million more per year, it is a better economic outcome than keeping MNF” (John Ourand, Staff Writer).

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM RATINGS: In N.Y., Richard Morgan wrote NFL ratings are "facing yet another brutal blitz this fall," and analysts note this season's ratings "could fall even faster as the league continues to grapple with a slew of ugly controversies that have turned off viewers." BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield said, "The downward trend in ratings is unavoidable -- even though NFL ratings are outperforming the broader TV market" (N.Y. POST, 9/4). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote under the header, "The NFL Misses Peyton Manning." The future HOFer's "uber-popular personality drew in casual viewers in ways that no one else in the league could." Manning from '11-15 "ranked as the No. 1 most popular player in the NFL." Wetzel: "You can't just replace a guy like that. And the NFL hasn't, at least not yet." The falling TV ratings "tell part of that story" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/4). THE DAILY talked to a panel of industry insiders about what ratings could look like this fall.