The National Football League is exploring options for its media properties including selling stakes to strategic partners, a move aimed at expanding the reach of its television networks and digital services, the league told team owners in a letter Wednesday. The league said it has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to explore potential partnerships for the properties, which include the NFL Network and RedZone pay TV channels as well as NFL.com.
Each day attracted record audiences. Thursday’s first round averaged 15.6 million, Friday’s second and third rounds 8.2 million and Saturday’s final four rounds 4.2 million. ESPN and NFL Network had a combined production all three days while ABC had separate telecasts Thursday and Friday before simulcasting the ESPN/NFL Network feed Saturday. ESPN Deportes also had a separate broadcast.
The April 23-25 draft was originally scheduled to be in Las Vegas but has been moved due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will now originate from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Draft hosts and a limited number of commentators will be in-studio but will adhere to social distancing guidelines.
While the rest of the sporting world continues to be shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL is going full steam ahead with its offseason activities, formally annoucing the 2020 NFL Draft will be completely virtual. ESPN and NFL Network are still expected to air the draft, which is scheduled for April 23-25.
The agreement will let Tegna’s stations source Reddit’s hyperlocal content for their news broadcasts and digital properties.
The NFL Network is being forced to cut $20 million out of its projected budget and, in the process, already has eliminated at least five shows, including one that featured Deion Sanders. The less-than-hoped-for budget has made negotiations with on-air personnel tense, and there is a feeling some will either not be retained or be forced to take pay cuts, according to sources.
Fox Sports will broadcast the NFL draft this season, along with the NFL’s usual television partners of ESPN and NFL Network. A person familiar with the decision says Fox will show the same feed as the NFL Network. ESPN will still air its own draft feed.
NFL Network has suspended analysts Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor while it investigates accusations of sexual harassment made in a lawsuit filed by a former network stylist.
tHE nfL Network has been bucking a lowering trend in sports media, both in terms of distribution and TV ratings. It is in 71.517 million homes, which is only about 1 million homes lower than its October 2013 high of 72.464 million, according to Nielsen. Plus, the channel’s programming has proved to be popular among the younger demos.
If your TV is ever tuned into CBS it doesn’t take long to see the massive effort being put into promoting the new Thursday Night Football broadcast TV franchise. And the combined production efforts being put forth by CBS Sports and the NFL Network behind the scenes is shaping up in such a way that it will arguably be the largest week-in-week-out regular season production the NFL has ever seen.
When a sobbing Michael Sam celebrated his selection by the St. Louis Rams by hugging and kissing his partner, another man, it made real and physical that an openly gay athlete had taken an unprecedented step toward an NFL career. Producer Seth Markman, who oversees NFL draft coverage for ESPN, said that in the extensive preparation for Sam’s possible draft, “we never had one discussion about, ‘What if he’s drafted, his partner’s there and they kiss?’ Honestly, it never came up.”
The NFL is requiring that the winning bidder of its Thursday night game package simulcast the games on NFL Network, according to several sources. The NFL included the surprising language in the proposal that it sent to TV networks last week, specifying that the winning bidder’s live linear feed “will be simulcast by NFL Network.”
NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football continues to eat into TV viewership among the bigger broadcast network players. Overall through five games last week, Thursday Night Football is up 28% in total viewers to 8.1 million viewers.
File this under “cable confounds broadcast again”: CBS is losing an NFL rivalry game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers this Sunday because grounds crews won’t have enough time to convert the O.co Coliseum from a diamond to a gridiron after a baseball playoff game the night before.
Adding five Thursday Night Football games to its lineup has paid handsome dividends for NFL Network, enabling the league’s in-house cable outlet to boost its carriage fees by as much as 41%. According to SNL Kagan estimates, NFL Network in 2013 charges operators an average affiliate fee of $1.34 per subscriber per month, a sharp increase from the $0.95 a pop the channel commanded a year ago, and placing it second behind only ESPN’s $5.45.
The channel’s expanded Thursday Night Football slate helps double ad sales dollars. The games have put up record numbers, averaging 6.35 million viewers over the course of 13 games.
Sanford C. Bernstein, media analyst at Todd Juenger, thinks the National Football League is biting the hands that feed it. Every Sunday millions of viewers flock to CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN to watch football games. That’s good. But every Thursday, millions flock to the NFL Network to watch games and that is taking away viewers and advertisers from the league’s broadcast partners. That’s bad.
The National Football League reached agreement with Time Warner (TWC) Cable Inc. to carry the league-owned NFL Network and RedZone Channel, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said. The multiyear accord may be announced later today, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the contract hasn’t been signed.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NFL is increasing the number of Thursday night games so more of its teams can play in prime time. Commissioner Roger Goodell said that there will be Thursday night games on the NFL Network from the second to the 15th week of the season, giving all of the league’s teams a […]