This is the first time a major sports league has teamed with the social media app on official content.
The latest round of lucrative NFL rights renewals with programmers will likely lead to a rise in cord cutting for both MVPDs and virtual MVPDs. Deana Myers, research director at Kagan, broke down the new agreements with ABC, Amazon, ESPN, CBS, Fox and NBC, which her firm estimates are worth more than $107 billion all told. She said that programming costs are sure to rise from this, in terms of both affiliate and retransmission fees.
NFL Media and Hulu announced a new multi-year carriage agreement to bring the NFL Network and NFL RedZone to Hulu’s live TV subscription streaming service Hulu + Live TV. The NFL Network and NFL RedZone will be available to Hulu + Live TV subscribers by Aug. 1, just in time for the 2021 NFL season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
iHeart will distribute podcasts currently produced by the league’s media division. The two parties will also team up to produce and distribute podcasts currently in the works.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to the media after the league announced its new broadcasting contracts last month, he said the league would “find ways we can engage fans through legalized sports betting” during the life of those deals. That continued a major shift in attitude for a league that had long worked to avoid any connection with gambling and that shift grew even larger on Thursday. The NFL announced its first sportsbook partnerships with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel. The multi-year agreements make the three companies official sports betting partners of the league and give them the ability to use NFL marks.
Broadcasters anted up $100 billion for 10 years to show football — but the league can pursue a new path after seven years.
As has been expected for months now, NFL owners voted Tuesday to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 starting this year. The Super Bowl, which had been scheduled for Feb. 6, 2022, is now expected to be played Feb. 13, 2022. The season is expected to start with the traditional Thursday night opener Sept. 9, which had been the plan even if the season had stayed at 16 games.
The $113 billion deal
announced by the NFL and media companies last Thursday spreads professional football content broadly, with CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, ESPN and Amazon all getting pieces, and locks it in at a time little else can attract such a wide audience. “If you think of the future of network television, there is nothing more important to it than the NFL,” said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst for LightShed Partners, an industry research firm. During the current television season, the eight most-watched recurring programs are football.
Shelly Palmer: “Whenever I’m asked about the fate of the television business, I always answer, ‘As goes the next NFL deal, so goes TV.’ Well, as everyone with even the slightest interest in the subject already knows, the NFL/TV deal is done—but times have changed. The NFL deal makes it very clear that it is time for the FCC to think seriously about reclaiming the spectrum gifted to the local broadcast industry. It is also time for Congress to craft policies that not only respect the state of today’s technology but aspire to leverage the technology of tomorrow.”
The new rights deal that include streaming rights “ends the retrans gravy train,” says analyst Rich Greenfield, while Moffett Nathanson says the biggest losers “will be the non-O&O affiliates of NBC and CBS.”
“The NFL is following the path we have seen first in scripted TV, then original films, followed by kids and unscripted content, and increasingly news and now sports,” writes one Wall Street expert.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP Thursday lashed out at Fox Corp., accusing the media company of exploiting the NFL and its 70% Black players, saying the league’s increasingly high subscriber fees help subsidize Fox News programming. The announcement came shortly before Fox announced a new, 11-year media rights agreement with the league.
The league took in $5.9 billion a year in its current contracts. It will get $113 billion over the 11 seasons of the new deals that begin in 2023, an increase of 80% over the previous such period. Amazon has partnered with the league to stream Thursday night games since 2017, but it will take over the entire package from Fox, which has had it since 2018. Games will continue to air on CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, while ABC will have a limited schedule of games as well as returning to the Super Bowl rotation for the first time since the 2005 season. Above, CBS, with lead anchors Tony Romo (l) and Jim Nantz, will continue to carry its traditional package of games.
The quarterback great joined NBC Sports on Monday, a day after announcing his retirement from the NFL. He will serve as an analyst for Notre Dame games as well as work from the studio during Football Night in America on Sunday nights.
The National Football League is on the verge of signing new rights deals with media partners that could see Amazon carry many games exclusively and TV networks pay as much as double their current rate, people familiar with the matter said. New agreements could be in place as early as next week, the people said.
Broadcasting pioneer and former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Irv Cross died Sunday morning near his home Roseville, Minn., the Philadelphia Eagles announced on the team’s website. He was 81.
Disney and the NFL have reached a broad agreement on a new media rights deal that will see ESPN renew Monday Night Football and ABC return to the Super Bowl rotation for the first time since 2006, according to sources. Contracts still have not been signed, but the two sides have smoothed over enough differences that a deal is very close at hand. Both the NFL and ESPN declined to comment.
The NFL is in active discussions on renewal rates with all four of its existing network partners — NBC, CBS, Fox, and Disney-owned ESPN, according to people familiar with the matter. The NFL is hoping to get its primary package renewals completed by March 17. NBC, CBS and Fox are likely to accept increases closer to 100% than Disney, which is currently paying much more than the three broadcast networks for its Monday Night Football package, said the people.
Peter King explains in his latest Football Morning in America column that the NFL is “within a month” of finalizing 10-year TV deals. Those packages “could result in an aggregate increase of 70% to 100% in rights fees from the last contract.”
The Super Bowl is complete, and the National Football League is wasting no time shifting attention to its top revenue stream: media rights. The NFL is looking to finalize frameworks of new TV rights agreements in the next few weeks and wants to do so before setting the 2021 salary cap figure in March, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Keeping announcers separated until game day has been CBS’ protocol this season. With many of the ancillary events surrounding Super Bowl week either canceled or happening virtually — along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers remaining at their own complexes to practice — the week is nearly structured like their first meeting on Nov. 29. Tony Romo and Jim Nantz were inseparable when CBS broadcast the Super Bowl two years ago. Next week, they won’t see each other until they are in the broadcast booth a couple hours prior to kickoff.
It was a huge Sunday night for the NFL, and for CBS. The AFC Championship Game conquered the TV ratings delivering a 9.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 33.01 million viewers in early Nielsen Live+Same Day data as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills 38-24 to punch their return ticket to the Super Bowl.
National Football League fans were left in the dark for about a half-hour on Sunday, as what were described as technical issues at CBS took the game off the air. The outage happened around 3 p.m. ET and affected viewers using Verizon FioS, DirecTV, Altice/Optimum, Xfinity and Spectrum in New York, New Jersey and Long Island.
Football has long been TV’s ultimate big-audience sport. Nearly every one of the medium’s most-watched broadcasts is an NFL football game. This past Sunday, however, the National Football League and several of the media companies eager to keep ties to its high-rated matches targetted niche crowds on Freeform, Nickelodeon and Telemundo.
The National Football League will allow CBS, NBC and Fox to sell an additional two minutes of commercials during the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl, according to network and league officials. That will mean several million dollars of new revenue for the networks, as NFL postseason games are among the most sought-after content for advertisers. A spot usually runs as high as $1 million during the early playoff rounds and can top $2 million for the conference championships that determine who plays in the Super Bowl, network executives said.
The matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals drew an average audience of 4.8 million viewers on Amazon’s Prime Video and Twitch platforms and mobile properties run by the NFL, the two teams and Verizon. Local over-the-air stations in San Francisco and Phoenix also carried the game, bringing the total audience to 5.9 million, according to the NFL.
The New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings game on Christmas Day proved a strong lure for sports fans isolated from their typical family gatherings by the pandemic. The game drew a 10.1 demographics score and provided an NFL record performance, as Saints running back Alvin Kamara scored six touchdowns.
Even though games may look the same, most of the processes around broadcasting the games have changed. Interviews for pregame features are being done remotely, announcers are socially distanced while being separated by plexiglass, and sideline reporters are in the stands.
TV networks are feeling the strains of disappointing NFL ratings, as they are forced to restructure deals with advertisers to make up for the smaller audience, and their opportunity to make money off remaining games during the lucrative holiday season narrows.
Fox Corp. is the only NFL media partner to carry two different football franchises. Depending on the future costs of those games, Fox may be content to carry just one. The company’s CFO, Steve Tomsic, said Tuesday that if forced to make a decision about whether to carry just Sunday-afternoon football games or Thursday Night Football, Fox would opt for the Sunday package.
Any football fan looking forward to seeing the San Francisco 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals the day after Christmas will have limited options to do so. In fact, there’s only going to be one way to watch that particular game. It’s going to be aired only via Amazon’s Prime TV, or Amazon’s property Twitch. No network broadcast or even subscription-based service will be offering it. The nation’s cable television providers need to respond to the advent of streaming sports programming — and do it soon.
The NFL’s decision to shift its Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game from Tuesday to Wednesday has led NBC to revise its primetime lineups for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Check out the new schedules.
As part of a “megacast” of a wild-card playoff game in January, ESPN will produce a version of the telecast for Freeform, Disney’s cable network targeted at young women. The game will also air on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
The NFL will shut down for two days to regroup from a weekend in which top teams were sidelined, a local government rendered the San Francisco 49ers homeless and the Denver Broncos had to play without a quarterback.
After the Baltimore Ravens had at least 10 positive Covid-19 tests, the NFL postponed the team’s primetime matchup against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers to Sunday. NBC had been scheduled to air the game and had been airing heavy promotions of its three notable Thanksgiving events, with the game preceded by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the National Dog Show. It wasn’t immediately clear which network will broadcast the game, or even what time it will be played. A decision on both matters is expected later today.
The NFL toughened its coronavirus protocols Wednesday, as it attempts to complete its season amid deteriorating conditions nationally. The announcement came as the Las Vegas Raiders continued to experience coronavirus-related issues, with a significant number of defensive players being placed on five-day quarantines that will keep them off the practice field this week in advance of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.