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Volume 26 No. 144
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ESPN, NFL Sign Eight-Year Extension To Media Rights Deal

ESPN and the NFL have signed an eight-year extension to their media rights agreement that is worth $1.9B per year, a whopping 63% increase over the average price of the current deal. A formal announcement of the deal, which was first reported in January, will likely come today. The deal will keep “MNF” on ESPN through the ‘21 season. It also gives ESPN a wide swath of digital rights that will allow the network to stream live games via broadband and tablets, as part of the cable industry’s “TV Everywhere” initiative.

What is also noteworthy is what is not part of the deal. ESPN will not get any playoff games as part of the deal, at least not initially. The contract allows for ESPN to carry a Wild Card playoff game at some point, but it is not set in stone. Neither ESPN nor ABC will be part of the Super Bowl rotation. The NFL has never agreed to take any of its playoff games off of broadcast television.

A key aspect to the deal for ESPN is that it will receive many more highlight rights, which the network will use to launch several new NFL-themed studio shows. Earlier this week, ESPN announced programming changes that moved shows like “Jim Rome Is Burning” from ESPN to ESPN2. That freed up space for ESPN to launch new shows, including one starring Pro Football HOFer Jerry Rice and another co-hosted by Suzy Kolber and Chris Mortensen.

For more, see today's issue of THE DAILY.