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Volume 27 No. 10
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NFL Viewership Gains Likely To Boost Negotiating Power

The NFL's viewership gains this season “should boost the league's negotiating power as some of those rights become available over the next couple of years,” according to CNBC's Julia Boorstin. The league is “maintaining its ratings gains over last year on a combination of more competitive games, teams in big markets performing well (and) some new emerging stars on the field.” Viewership on TV through Monday is up over 5% from last year to 16.7 million people. Digital viewership is “tiny but it is growing fast -- up 49% over last year, with an average of over half a million viewers per game.” Giants co-Owner & Treasurer Jonathan Tisch predicted there will be a “shift to being able to watch where you physically are” in the new rights deal. The new contracts are “being negotiated in real-time and there are so many new avenues for a fan to watch.” Despite that, Tisch said, “It's interesting because really in today's world, where you can time shift any show that you want, sports is the last vestige of appointment TV.” He noted legalized sports gambling is a “big influence” on higher viewership. He said, “If you are betting on a certain game, you're going to watch to see what happens. You’re going to watch until the bitter end because there are many games that are won (on) a field goal with three seconds left" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 12/5).