Next wave of TV deals could end conference affiliations

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For decades, the NFL has tied its Sunday afternoon TV deals to the league’s two conferences. Soon, that could be going away.

Variety reports, via, that the league and its network partners already have discussed eliminating the conference affiliations for the Sunday afternoon games.

This would give the NFL maximum flexibility to schedule the best games for the best spots, with an eye toward selecting optimal late-afternoon, nationally-televised games that currently rotate between FOX and CBS.

Subject to periodic cross-flexing, which has emerged in recent years, FOX currently is tied to the NFC, and has been since taking the NFC package from CBS in 1994. CBS later claimed the AFC package from NBC, which exited the NFL broadcast business for several years before securing in 2006 the rights to Sunday Night Football.

The Monday Night Football rights, currently held by ESPN, expire after the 2021 season. All other arrangements — the Sunday afternoon windows, Sunday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football — expire after the 2022 season.

43 responses to “Next wave of TV deals could end conference affiliations

  1. I would like to see Sunday Ticket abolished. Since I don’t live in the same time zone as my team, I rarely get to see them on tv. In this technological age, I shouldn’t have to be forced between being extorted by the satellite provider and commiting a crime (streaming) to see my team more than thrice a year.

  2. Man having one channel AFC and other NFC just somehow has always fit. I would prefer they get rid of the blocked second game after local team is at home. I say double headers on both channels ever Sunday.

  3. I’m still stuck on replay and rules. Until they fix that part of the game, does anything else really matter?

  4. The NFL needs to sell it’s whole season on line like they do in the rest of the world. Directv charges more than double than the NFL charges overseas.

  5. Just cut to the chase and spare us the BS. We all know the end game is eventually that NFL fans will have pay to watch their teams on a special NFL channel, paid stream websites or pay hundreds just like the NFL ticket direct tv system. When that eventually happens. I no longer will watch or follow my team like I currently do and will be just fine with me.

  6. They’ve severely softened over the last couple years.

    I fear without conferences restrictions in scheduling the cowboys will be late afternoon evertime they don’t have a prime time game.

  7. Fox has the NFC package which has teams in 11 out of the 15 largest TV markets. In addition, they have the more “popular” teams in the New York and LA markets. The AFC has only two unshared Top 15 markets in Houston and Boston. The NFL can get a much larger bundle of cash from CBS if they are able to grab more interesting games involving teams in some of those larger markets. Fox likely won’t be happy, but they will still pay the piper as they don’t want to lose the NFL. Personally I don’t like it. I like having one conference on one network and the other on the other network, but games have already been moved from one network to another, so not surprising.

  8. The important thing is that BSPN continues to provide MNF with cutting edge digital graphics from somebody’s refurbished Colecovision.

  9. Get ready for the Patriots and Cowboys in every afternoon game when they aren’t in prime time.

  10. Good time to switch it up again. NBC used to be AFC and CBS NFC and then Fox came in a tore things apart. ABC & ESPN has terrible camera coverage and angles. Hard to watch.

  11. I thought the headline might have meant that the conference divisions (AFC E, W, N, S, etc) were going away which would be a good thing IMO. I’m a Patriots fan but giving them a pass into the playoffs every year b/c the other AFC East teams are poorly run isn’t really fair at all.

    Make it a 16 team scrum, top 6 get in. That way the Pats can’t rest someone like Gronk half the season to get him ready for the playoffs. Make it a dogfight.

  12. Keep the AFC on CBS or better eliminate FOX sports from broadcasting games. I can barely stomach the 2 games a year I have to suffer through watching the nitwits on FOX

  13. Great! Now we can see the League go down the drain on all formats and networks. I can’t wait until the New NFL Betting odds channel debuts in 2020 where fans can bet on which games are rigged or not. Gonna be a Blast.

  14. Let me guess, more worthless cowboy games every week for fans that don”t want to watch that sorry team. I see JJ all over this. Force feed us more cowboys every year.

  15. This would be great. I live in WI, but due to where I live we only get Vikings games if the Pack and Vikes play at the same time, and often even if they just play the same day, due to the NFL’s asinine rules and the NFC/AFC broadcast split. Hopefully this would allow fans in split market areas to get to watch both teams play.

  16. When is the NFL going to start streaming games so that everyone can watch? Id gladly pay for the right to stream games instead of pirating them. Why, as a Buffalo fan in Baltimore, am I just not allowed to watch my team(without paying for a satellite connection I wont use the other 339 days a year)?

  17. razzlejag says:
    March 6, 2019 at 7:50 am
    I thought the headline might have meant that the conference divisions (AFC E, W, N, S, etc) were going away which would be a good thing IMO. I’m a Patriots fan but giving them a pass into the playoffs every year b/c the other AFC East teams are poorly run isn’t really fair at all.

    Make it a 16 team scrum, top 6 get in. That way the Pats can’t rest someone like Gronk half the season to get him ready for the playoffs. Make it a dogfight.


    This argument has been debunked so many times it’s almost not worth discussing. But just for the sake of discussion, in what division would you put the Patriots to make their road harder every year? The cupcake AFC North? The perennially bad AFC South? Your only argument might be the AFC West.

    As for just playing a bunch of teams with no divisions…..what teams would you have them play to make their road harder? KC? They beat them twice last season. The Charger? Beat them too. The Steelers? Brady is something like 12-4 against them.

  18. I actually think this could be great. Aikmen could broadcast all of the Cowboy games regardless of where they are and Romo could do the 4:30 national game regardless of who it is. And for me it means that late afternoon football isn’t always Cowboys.

  19. Just another money maker for the networks and NFL.

    Can you say TV SCHEDULE DRAFT?

    1st round – Prime time games
    2nd round – 4:30 games
    3rd round – “national” 1PM games
    4th round – regional games

    Laugh all you want, but you know someone at the NFL office is trying to figure it out!

  20. Completely agree with AFC fans, the NFC on Fox was cool…. 20 years ago.
    It’s too gimmicky now and it’s almost refreshing when the Vikings get a CBS game, it just seems more professional and more of a football game, and the announcers are WAY better.
    Buck sucks.

  21. how bout bringing MNF back too ABC local channels monday nights especially when its bad storms in the north east and Direct TV stops working till the weather clears

  22. I have a fish tank channel, fireplace channel etc. How the hell does the league not have every game available to watch each week? I would watch so much more football. Being in Canada we luck out as we get a bunch of time shifting games that typically are decent and have a lot of variety. However, sometimes we are stuck with dud games and I just turn it off and do something else. Better to have viewers than not.

  23. With Xfinity you pick your favorite team(s) an then select record all games , it’s automatic and it extends the recording if the game goes over the allotted time .

  24. J V says:
    March 6, 2019 at 8:47 am
    The Cowboys will be the late national game every week
    And the Packers, Bears, Giants and/or Patriots will be the early national game(s) each week.
    And if any of these teams play the Cowboys, it will most certainly be the Sunday night game. (Like when the Red Sox and Yankees play. Every. freakin’.

  25. The past few primetime match ups is what’s killing this league. It makes sense to put the Patriots and Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. What doesn’t make sense is to put the Bengals vs. Chiefs on primetime. That game should have been moved to the afternoon. Not to mention, they had the Redskins vs. Raiders on SNF in the 2017 season along with the Raiders vs. Dolphins. If they know the teams are playing poorly, don’t make the nationwide audience suffer during the best and most anticipated time of football Sunday. Furthermore, the NFC East rivalry games shouldn’t always be on SNF. If one of the teams is flat-out awful, move it to the afternoon.

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