NFL, networks still planning to work on new broadcast deals

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The COVID-19 situation has turned the world upside down, and it’s caused certain aspects of American business to be back-burnered. The NFL and the networks, however, won’t table indefinitely the negotiations on new TV deals.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that the networks are still preparing to negotiate those deals in the coming months. The expectation is that formal negotiations will happen within the next three months.

Some have wondered whether the economic damage from the ongoing crisis may cause the networks to wait. The existence of more interested networks than available packages may prevent that from happening; any network that chooses to delay could be left out in the cold.

As the new CBA moved toward ratification, some believed that the NFL already had a deal lined up to expand its current relationship with Disney, by moving Monday Night Football from ESPN to ABC, by adding a package for ESPN (presumably, Thursday Night Football), and possibly by finagling a streaming component for ESPN+. The theory is that the new deal would be the final triumph of now-former Disney CEO Robert Iger, who has remained with the company as “executive chairman focused on creative endeavors.”

The ongoing stock-market crash could make it difficult for the publicly-traded parent companies of the various networks to justify making multi-billion-dollar commitments. If they won’t, however, the streaming companies may step up. Indeed, some still believe that the NFL may consider selling all rights based on window (early Sunday, late-afternoon Sunday, Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday night, playoff rounds, etc.) and then relying on these larger corporations to sell broadcast and streaming rights separately.

7 responses to “NFL, networks still planning to work on new broadcast deals

  1. NBA, NHL, MLB, and college seasons could be canceled. By the time fall rolls around and things may be getting back to normal, the NFL could shatter ratings records.

  2. My goodness.. life has to go on plans for normalcy have to continue. The media makes it sound like we need to plan for eternal disaster. On the other hand I’m surprised how little I am missing televised sports. This might wean millions of fans away from sports in general.

  3. Networks are still between a rock and a hard place. They, and their sponsors who ultimately pay the bills, are sailing into the teeth of what could be a major recession. On the other side, the streaming outlets (Amazon, etc) are just lurking, ready to take a major chunk of the business away from the networks entirely. And the NFL still has a product that, like it or not, is (still) the 800 lb gorilla that holds all the cards. Net net – the price to the consumer to consume NFL product is going to go up.

  4. When the economy is down, advertising revenue is going to go down as well, because businesses need to tighten their belts. The NFL may not get lucrative contracts from the 4 broadcast networks as they did in the recent past. The salary cap may even shrink as a result of the recession that is on the horizon.

  5. Would be nice if they could set it up so that you can buy individual games or season ticket for your team only

  6. Ya how about we do away with protected markets and let us see all the game we want. This 300 for NFL Sunday Ticket is bs. Lets give these rights to other providers and get some comp going. Why cant dish, cable, etc all have the opportunity to offer all the games

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