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Volume 27 No. 5
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NFL Media Notes: Networks Expect TV Negotiations To Heat Up In '20

CNBC.com's Jabari Young noted network officials "expect the NFL to begin discussions to renegotiate its contracts with Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN early next year, with a framework for new agreements in place" by '21. Former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson estimated that the NFL "could get a minimum" of 25-30% more in "broadcast fees under its new contracts." One network official said that a 50% increase "could happen, too" (CNBC.com, 12/30).

WINDY CITY NUMBERS: In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal notes following an 8-8 season, the Bears saw a 9% year-to-year drop in their local TV ratings. The Bears' Week 17 victory over the Vikings on WFLD-Fox averaged a 19.9 rating in the Chicago market. Not only is that a 39% drop from the Bears' regular-season finale at Minnesota a year ago, it is their "lowest local rating since they closed out" the '17 season with a 16.9 rating to "end John Fox's coaching tenure." For the season, the Bears averaged a 26.2 rating locally, down from the 28.8 in '18. This "runs counter to the NFL's ratings overall this season, which are up nationally" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/31).

MONDAY NIGHT SHUFFLE? THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch notes ESPN execs this offseason "will publicly say nice things about" Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland as "MNF" was a "much better production this year as a two-person booth than the Jason Witten version." But the net will also continue to "explore what other options exist." Deitsch: "It would not surprise me if both returned. It would not surprise me if both did not." Meanwhile, officiating expert John Perry brought "major value" to the booth in his first season, as he "can explain in clear and concise terms why something was called and how it might be adjudicated" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/31).

ON THE CALL: In Buffalo, Alan Pergament noted CBS play-by-play man Tom McCarthy and analyst Jay Feely called Jets-Bills last Sunday and were "not as good as they were earlier in the season." McCarthy is "easy to listen to" and has an "excellent voice." Feely, meanwhile, "gets a lot of credit for being opinionated," but on Sunday, some of those opinions were "head-scratching." He "gave a lot of credence to the importance of the Jets winning their sixth game in their last eight even though they were struggling against numerous Bills defensive backups." Feely also "seemed to feel the Bills' confidence might have been shaken because they lost three of their last four games" despite two of those losses coming against the Ravens and Patriots (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/30).