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NFL Signs TV Deals Worth A Massive $110B: Amazon, ESPN/ABC Among The Big Winners

NFL Signs TV Deals Worth A Massive $110B: Amazon, ESPN/ABC Among The Big Winners

The National Football League has signed a series of deals that expands its broadcasts to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) while strengthening existing relations with Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) ESPN/ABC, Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMSCA) NBC and Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA)(NASDAQ: FOX).

What Happened: The new deals run for 11 years and are worth a combined $100 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, with the NFL receiving a combined average increase from its media partners of 75% to 80% in fees.

Sports Business Journal reports the package amounts to $110 billion in revenue for the NFL.

Amazon will present the NFL's "Thursday Night Football" starting in the 2023 season. Fox currently has the rights to the Thursday games in a deal that is scheduled to expire with the 2022 season. The NFL and Amazon first partnered on "Thursday Night Football" as part of a Tri-Cast distribution model during the 2017 season.

The number of games to be streamed on Amazon has not been determined, though it could be as high as 15 per season. The games will be seen on Amazon's Prime Video service and will not be made available on television outside of the local markets affiliated with the two teams playing. Amazon's annual fee is around $1 billion, according to WSJ's sources.

Fox and CBS will continue to carry the NFL's Sunday afternoon games, with NBC airing "Sunday Night Football." WSJ reported the three networks will see their fees reach up to $2 billion per season starting with the 2023 season, which is more than double their current arrangement. ESPN, which now pays $2 billion to air "Monday Night Football," will pay an average annual fee of $2.7 billion to retain the rights to that broadcast.

NFL Network, the television home of the NFL, will continue to televise a select schedule of exclusive NFL games on a yearly basis.

See Also: Jeff Bezos Might Be Targeting NFL's Washington Football Team

As For The Big Game: Furthermore, the Super Bowl will rotate between CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN and its Disney-owned sister network. CBS will broadcast the Super Bowl in 2023, 2027 and 2031; Fox will show the game in 2024, 2028 and 2032; NBC will present the game in 2025, 2029 and 2033; and ESPN and ABC will share the event in 2026 and 2030.

ABC hasn't hosted a Super Bowl game since the 2005 season.

"These new media deals will provide our fans even greater access to the games they love. We're proud to grow our partnerships with the most innovative media companies in the market," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a press statement. "Along with our recently completed labor agreement with the NFLPA, these distribution agreements bring an unprecedented era of stability to the League and will permit us to continue to grow and improve our game."

TV Juggernaut: The new contracts offer a high degree of optimism that football's ratings will be on the rise in a post-pandemic environment. The regular season that wrapped on Jan. 3 dipped by about 10% in TV viewership compared to 2019, stopping a two-year streak of audience growth for the NFL.

Across all of the NFL's broadcast partners — CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and the league-owned NFL Network — games averaged about 14.9 million viewers, versus 16.5 million a year ago, per a Hollywood Reporter review of Nielsen ratings. The 2020 figure comes in a bit below 2017, when the regular season averaged 14.96 million viewers.

The NFL stated that ratings on the 2020 season, excluding four games that were moved due to COVID-19 outbreaks within teams, was 15.4 million TV viewers, a 7% year-over-year decline. However, a data analysis by the Hollywood Reporter of Nielsen Ratings said the TV ratings averaged 14.9 million, a 10% year-over-year drop.

Photo by Tim Reckmann / Flickr Creative Commons.


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