The multibillion-dollar market for sports broadcasting rights is wreaking havoc in Europe, where soccer teams are suffering heavy losses due to pandemic-shuttered stadiums as new media players enter the field. In Italy, billionaire Leonard Blavatnik’s live sports streaming service DAZN, with backing from local telco streamer Telecom Italia, plunked down more than $1 billion per season for a three-year contract for the bulk of Italian Serie A soccer rights, displacing Comcast-owned pay TV operator Sky. The deal marked the first time a streamer has nabbed exclusive rights to a major domestic league in its native territory.
The network said Tuesday it had reached a six-year agreement with the South American governing body CONMEBOL for English-language U.S. rights that include this year’s tournament in Colombia and Argentina from June 13 to July 10 and the 2024 tournament, likely to be played in Ecuador.
The National Hockey League has completed its next TV rights package — and for the first time in 16 years, NBC Sports won’t be a part of it. NBC pulled out of negotiations for the partial rights for the league’s next TV deal. WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports will pick up the remainder of the package, sharing rights with ESPN for seven seasons beginning with the 2021-22 seasonth.
A start-up men’s basketball league, with plans to pay college students up to $150,000 and compete with the NCAA, has inked a media rights deal, setting the stage for its debut later this year. The Professional Collegiate League reached a pact with Next Level, a network owned by a former Obama administration official, that will air its games both on linear TV and streaming platforms.
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.
Major League Baseball is considering a rule change that cord cutters can cheer. After years of relying on traditional distribution of local games via cable and satellite (plus, to a limited extent, over-the-top streaming), MLB is now urging its regional sports networks to explore direct-to-customer possibilities for local fans.
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.
The Super League may not yet be a stone cold reality, but the proposal to band together 20 of the top European soccer clubs could generate billions of dollars in rights fees for football clubs across the pond, potentially attracting several major cable networks and broadcasters to compete for TV rights to the games.
Broadcasters anted up $100 billion for 10 years to show football — but the league can pursue a new path after seven years.
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.
The Indy Eleven of the United Soccer League and Circle City Broadcasting’s CW affiliate WISH signed a two-year extension of their broadcast agreement, ensuring fans will have an over-the-air option to watch Indy Eleven contests through the 2022 USL Championship campaign. Fans of Indiana’s Team will be able to watch 20 games during the 2021 […]
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.
This is the 10th year that CBS and Turner have teamed up for March Madness. While the deal provides the NCAA with its largest source of revenue, it has also turned a profit for both networks as well as benefiting fans because all of the games are available nationally. The success of the partnership, which will last until at least 2032, has exceeded the expectations of CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus.
Hockey will return in a big way to Walt Disney’s ESPN in a new seven-year deal that breaks NBCUniversal’s dominance of the sport’s TV rights and makes some National Hockey League games available for streaming in broader fashion. ESPN’s new deal with the NHL will last from the 2021-22 season through the 2027-28 season, the network announced today.
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.
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.
With the pandemic hurting NHL revenues, the league is expected to seek an increase in revenues, starting with its national TV deals. For a substantial bump, the deal will likely need to carve out some exclusive game content for one of the new subscription direct-to-consumer platforms, such as ESPN+ or Peacock.
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.
ESPN and Major League Baseball are closing in on a TV deal that would provide the network exclusive rights to the first round of the playoffs. Now all that is needed is a first round of the playoffs. That needs to be negotiated between MLB and the Players Association, which is to say that, while an ESPN-MLB deal is close, they are still far from knowing when — and even if — there will be playoffs expanded from 10 to likely 14 teams to include a best-of-three first round.
In the upcoming months television networks will begin negotiations with several sports leagues for new TV contracts. The NHL and MLS are expected to open up negotiations as their current agreements expire. MLB which has already extended agreements with Fox and Turner Sports has ESPN up next. However, no contract renewal will be more important (or expensive) than the NFL.
It has been known for a long time that Disney/ABC/ESPN would be very aggressive in negotiating for more NFL, the most valuable programming in television. However, according to sources, it is more than that as the pitch Disney is making to the NFL is that it currently pays the most so it deserves the best primetime regular-season schedule. On top of that, according to officials familiar with the negotiations, Disney/ABC/ESPN wants to acquire two separate NFL packages.
Each Monday Night Football broadcast this season takes place as the NFL and the TV networks that air its games are holding critical negotiations about rights contracts that, if they aren’t renewed, could determine nothing less than the fate of traditional TV itself. To be sure, networks make tweaks and improvements to regular programs all the time, but this season, any changes to gridiron TV take place under a new and intense spotlight.
Fox Corp. is willing to spend as much as $2 billion a year to maintain its rights to National Football League games on Sunday, a huge increase from its current contract, according to people familiar with the matter. Negotiations with the league are heating up because current broadcast rights begin expiring at the end of next year.
A growing number of analysts and insiders are reaching a startling conclusion: While the NFL and its sky-high viewership may be critical to networks as marketers look to unleash their budgets on holiday shoppers, the scrapping of the college Division I football season actually might come with as many silver linings as drawbacks — maybe even more. Why? Because buying the rights to college games has become so expensive that sometimes networks are better off if the games aren’t played at all.
Major League Baseball has agreed to broad terms on a new rights deal with Turner Sports at around a 40% average annual increase, sources said. Nothing has been signed formally, but this new deal will see Turner pay an average of around $470 million per year from 2022 through 2028 for a rough total of $3.29 billion. Its expiration will sync with a Fox deal signed in November 2018. Turner now pays an average of $325 million a year under an eight-year deal that expires after the 2021 season.
The group’s stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, and Bakersfield, Calif., become the “Official Home of Raiders’ Football” in their markets.
Tens of millions of people are paying for basketball, hockey and baseball that isn’t being played. The Attorney General of New York this week demanded cable and satellite operators stop charging customers for live sports programs. Many of those companies, including Charter and Comcast, have said they would love to provide a refund. There’s just one problem: they are still paying for sports too.