CBS, FOX, NBC Lock Up NFL Rights Through 2022
The NFL officially set its network television rights in stone through 2022 on Wednesday, announcing extensions with CBS, FOX, and NBC. All three deals will kick off in 2014 with NBC picking up the annual primetime Thanksgiving game in 2012. Each network will broadcast three Super Bowls apiece during the nine-year agreement.
According to the New York Times, CBS, Fox and NBC will together pay an average of about $3 billion a year over the nine-year deals, more than 50 percent higher than their current agreements.
The four networks, as well as DirecTV – which pays $1 billion a year for its Sunday Ticket satellite package – will pay the NFL more annually than any sports league has ever been paid.
The agreements also include increased digital rights for FOX and NBC and a revised flex scheduling format that will allow NFC games to air on CBS and AFC games to air on FOX when the league decides to do so. The new deals also allow the league to expand its Thursday Night Football package of games on NFL Network, beginning next season.
The nine-year deals are the longest in league history, surpassing the eight-year agreements signed with CBS, FOX, and ABC from 1998 to 2005.
CBS will continue as the broadcast home of the AFC and will broadcast Super Bowl L in 2016, Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and Super Bowl LVI in 2022. CBS will air Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013 under the current rights deal.
“No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does,” says Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corp. “The League has proven time and again that it understands the importance of a healthy broadcast partner, and this historic new agreement strengthens that partnership. In addition, the deal continues CBS’s ability to be profitable with the NFL throughout the coming decade and beyond.”
“CBS has been broadcasting the NFL for 52 years, and we are extremely pleased to extend our long-term partnership,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “This commitment is further proof of the valued relationship CBS shares with the NFL and of the overall strength of CBS Sports. The opportunity to add quality NFC games greatly enhances our television package.”
In addition to remaining the network home of the NFC regular-season package, the new agreement also awards FOX Sports with postseason rights to NFC Wild Card games, Divisional Playoff games, the NFC Championship Game and three Super Bowls (LI, LIV & LVII).
The agreement also includes fully authenticated “TV everywhere” rights, which enables FOX Sports to offer games it broadcasts and other NFL on FOX related content on FOXSports.com, tablets and other digital platforms, excluding mobile phones.
“The National Football League is the greatest television property in the world and we are thrilled that it remains the cornerstone of FOX Sports and the FOX Network well into the next decade,” says David Hill, Chairman, FOX Sports Media Group. “Everyone at FOX Sports looks forward to presenting the NFL, television’s ultimate reality programming, providing our viewers with the finest pregame, game and postgame coverage possible for many years to come.”
The new flexible scheduling gives the NFL a limited ability move games between FOX and CBS that would bring marquee regional games to wider audiences. Further details on enhanced flexible scheduling are still in development.
NBC Sports Group
As part of its new agreement, NBC picks up the annual primetime Thanksgiving game, which had previously been carried by NFL Network, beginning next season. When the full agreement takes hold in 2014, NBC also will receive an improved set of postseason games, enhanced flexible scheduling, and expanded digital rights. NBC also secured the Spanish-language rights so that games could be shown on Telemundo, mun2, or with an SAP feed.
In 2014, the network will exchange one of its current Wild Card games for a Divisional playoff game, giving the network one Wild Card and one Divisional playoff game. In addition to the 2012 Super Bowl, NBC will broadcast the 2015, 2018 and 2021 Super Bowls.
“There is no more powerful programming on television than the NFL and no better program than Sunday Night Football,” says Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “The long-term agreement announced today provides us with significant enhancements to our existing NFL package, ensures that we will continue our partnership with the NFL for many years, and adds tremendous value to the many assets of NBCUniversal. We could not be more pleased.”
NBC will now broadcast 19 regular season games, including 17 regular season Sunday Night Football games, each season’s opening NFL Kickoff Thursday night primetime game and the new Thanksgiving night game, as well as the two playoff games. NBC’s original Sunday Night Football agreement in 2006 included 17 regular season games, which was increased to 18 in 2010.
“Sunday Night Football on NBC is the most-watched program on primetime television, and we’re excited to continue our long-term partnership with the NFL,” says Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “The new primetime Thanksgiving game starting in 2012, the upgraded playoff package and the three Super Bowls are all major enhancements to our new agreement. The additional digital and programming rights add tremendous value to the NBC Sports Group portfolio.”
In September, the NFL and ESPN reached an eight-year, reportedly $15.2 billion extension for the Monday Night Football package.