In a trade of high-end TV assets, CBS and NBC have agreed to swap Super Bowl turns in order to avoid a clash in 2022, when NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage will coincide with the NFL’s championship game.
Major rights holders CBS, NBC and Fox share the annual broadcast in a three-network rotation that is due to last through the end of the current contract with the NFL in 2023. Fox has next’s Super Bowl, and CBS now will follow in 2021, with NBCUniversal set to integrate the 2002 game with its high-profile Winter Olympics coverage from Beijing.
The networks confirmed the move, while the NFL declined comment.
CBS aired the game last month, and today’s switch enables CBS to enjoy two Super Bowls in three years, sandwiched by the political-advertising geyser of 2020. In 2021, the network also will have a stellar run of events similar to this year’s, with the AFC Championship, Super Bowl, Grammys and the NCAA Final Four. For NBC, though, it sets up a winter day for the history books in 2022. NBC will carry the Winter Olympics from China across its portfolio, which includes a number of cable and digita outlets. The broadcast network will feature the Super Bowl, which will be played at Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, the new venue being built near LAX.
It figures to be a more compressed version of what took place in 2018, when NBC aired Super Bowl XLII (the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 win over the New England Patriots) a few days before the Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea. Over the full month, NBCUniversal booked $1.6 billion in revenue for the month thanks to the two watershed events.
This year’s Super Bowl, a low-scoring affair that saw the Patriots beat the LA Rams, had the game’s lowest ratings in nearly a decade. Even so, the scale of the game remains vast, and networks continue to set records for commercial rates.
Since 2004, the Super Bowl has been played in February, during the traditional broadcast “sweep” period, increasing its already-high visibility on the entertainment and cultural calendar.
The New York Post had the first report of the trade.