UPDATED: The NFL said that this is the longest TV deal ever for the league’s broadcast rights. Although terms weren’t disclosed today, the total package for America’s most popular sport is now estimated at $7 billion (counting earlier cable-rights deals with ESPN and DirecTV). That’s even more than the lofty increases some were expecting. The NBC contract solidifies the network’s flagship Sunday Night Football and includes a primetime game on Thanksgiving. The CBS agreement provides it access to AFC and NFC games for the first time in the same season. The networks will continue rotating the Super Bowl broadcasts; NBC is up next this season. “The agreements would not have been possible without our new 10-year labor agreement and the players deserve great credit,” NFL commissioner Roger Goddell said. “Long-term labor peace is allowing the NFL to continue to grow, and the biggest beneficiaries are the players and fans.” The league also plans to add to the number of Thursday night games carried by the NFL Network, but how many has yet to be decided. Here are the releases announcing the deals, starting with NBC:
NEW YORK – December 14, 2011 – NBCUniversal today agreed to a new and extensive media rights agreement to extend its NFL rights package through the 2022 season. The new agreement includes many enhancements that broaden the exposure of NFL content on NBC, and across other NBCUniversal platforms.
“This is a great day for NBCUniversal and the NBC Sports Group. There is no more powerful programming on television than the NFL and no better program than Sunday Night Football. 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,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal.
“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,” said 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.”
This new and extensive media rights agreement includes many enhancements vs. the previous agreement:
(Beginning with the new agreement in 2014 except where noted in bold)
NBC will annually broadcast a primetime game on Thanksgiving night beginning in 2012;
Upgraded playoff coverage, exchanging one of its current Wild Card games for a Divisional playoff game;
In addition to the 2012 Super Bowl, NBC will broadcast the 2015, 2018 and 2021 Super Bowls;
Enhanced flexible scheduling;
Expanded digital rights, including “TV Everywhere” rights;
Spanish language rights so that games could be shown on Telemundo, mun2 or with an SAP feed.
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, and two playoff games (one Wild Card game and one Divisional game). NBC’s original Sunday Night Football agreement, which began in 2006, included 17 regular season games. It was increased to 18 in 2010.
Sunday Night Football, the most-watched primetime show of the fall television season for the second straight year, is preceded each week at 7 p.m. ET by the critically acclaimed Football Night in America, which provides comprehensive highlights and analysis of the day’s events in the NFL, along with a preview of that night’s Sunday Night Football contest.
The original six-year Sunday Night Football agreement between NBC Sports and the NFL started with the 2006 season and ran through the 2011 season. The current agreement, which was extended in 2009, expires after the 2013 season.
NBC & THE NFL: NBC’s long history with the NFL dates back 70 years to 1939 when NBC became the first network to televise an NFL game – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field to the approximately 1,000 sets then in New York. NBC first broadcast the NFL Championship Game in 1955. In 1964, NBC signed a five-year contract to televise the AFL. NBC was awarded the AFC package in 1970, an association that would continue through the 1997-98 season. NBC televised the first Super Bowl in 1967 and the historic New York Jets’ upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969.
In February 2009, NBC broadcast Super Bowl XLIII, which was, at the time, the most-watched program in television history, and on February 5, 2012, NBC will broadcast Super Bowl XLVI from Indianapolis with extensive coverage all week on NBC Sports Network (to be re-named from VERSUS on Jan. 2, 2012). NBC has built Sunday Night Football into the most-watched primetime show on television.
Here’s the CBS release:
NEW YORK, December 14, 2011 – The National Football League announced today that CBS has been awarded a new nine-year broadcast rights agreement that runs through the 2022 season. In the new deal, CBS Sports remains the broadcast home of the NFL’s American Football Conference (AFC). In addition, as part of the NFL’s expanded “flexible scheduling,” CBS will also broadcast games from the National Football Conference (NFC). This will be the first time CBS will broadcast AFC and NFC matchups in the same season. CBS will broadcast Super Bowl L in 2016, Super Bowl LIII in 2019 and Super Bowl LVI in 2022, in addition to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013.
“The NFL provides terrific, exciting programming to our viewers week-in and week-out,” said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does. 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. We look forward to continued growth as we broadcast the NFL for many more years to come.”
Twelve of CBS’s 14 owned stations are in NFL markets, including New York, San Francisco/Oakland, Boston, Miami, Denver, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, which are all AFC markets.
This new deal is the longest ever with the NFL and its broadcast partners, surpassing the eight-year deal from 1998-2005. CBS Sports, which first began televising NFL regular-season games in 1956 and this season marks its 52nd season, had broadcast rights to the National Football Conference package from 1970 through 1993. The Network began televising American Football Conference games in 1998.
New York & Los Angeles – FOX Sports has served as America’s No. 1 NFL network since 1994, anchored by one of the top properties in the history of television, the prestigious Sunday afternoon NFC rights package. The network looks to continue that amazing streak through the 2022 season after agreeing to a new nine-year multi-platform media rights agreement with the National Football League beginning in 2014. The announcement was made today by David Hill, Chairman, FOX Sports Media Group. The rights agreement between FOX and the NFL currently in-force runs through the 2013 season.
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,” said Hill. “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.”
Flexible scheduling, which the NFL initiated to ensure quality matchups in all Sunday time slots and as it relates to FOX gives NFC teams a chance to play their way into the late-afternoon 4:15 PM ET window, expands in 2014. Included in the changes is a limited ability for the NFL to move games between FOX and CBS that would bring regional games to wider audiences. Further details on enhanced flexible scheduling are still in development.
This marks the fourth media rights deal between FOX Sports and the NFL dating back to the landmark agreement struck in December 1993 that essentially solidified FOX as a major broadcast network.
The NFL on FOX has set viewership records in each of the last two seasons, and is currently on pace for a third straight. AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK, the 4:15 PM ET window on FOX’s doubleheader Sundays, is television’s No. 1 show in any day-part, in households and across every major male and adult demographic. The strength of FOX’s NFC package has enabled the FOX NFL SUNDAY pregame show to rank as America’s No. 1 pregame show for 18 straight seasons and THE OT postgame show often ranks among prime time’s top-20 programs.
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