NFL Signs New Television Contract

NFL agrees to 6-year extensions with CBS, Fox (ESPN)

The NFL agreed Monday to $8 billion in contract extensions with Fox and CBS to televise Sunday afternoon games for six more years, deals that would also allow the league to show better matchups late in the season in prime time. The current contract, which expires after the 2005 season, was worth $17.2 billion, including the Sunday night (on ESPN) and Monday night (on ABC) packages. The extensions will run through 2011. ESPN and ABC continue discussions with the NFL on both the Sunday night and Monday night packages.

The deals give the NFL the option to move seven late-season games from Sunday to Monday night to feature more attractive matchups, according to an official within the league who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The NFL also can develop late-season prime-time satellite or cable packages of eight games, which would be televised on Thursdays and Saturdays. Or the league could take those eight games and show them regionally in prime-time telecasts on Sundays and Mondays.

DirecTV also extended its deal with the league through 2010 for the Sunday Ticket package. The satellite distributor will pay $3.5 billion for the five-year extension.

Once again, the NFL shows why it’s the dominant sports league. These moves are all quite fan-friendly. The current prime time games are agreed to well in advance based on the previous season. As a result, we often wind up with unattractive Sunday- and Monday Night Football matchups late in the year featuring teams with little national appeal.

NFL Sunday Ticket and the proposed late season package also offer those of us who are fans of teams outside the local area to get access to those games. In the age of TiVo and the Internet, we should soon get to the stage where everyone can watch the game of their choice, regardless of the dictates of the local market.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Nice moves here. I have to agree – for example, my team, the Steelers, have no Monday night matchups this year due to their 6-10 record last year. The Baltimore Ravens were supposed to run away with the division this year.

    Well, now the Steelers are one of the best teams in the NFL at 7-1, and the league would probably love to have that option to move their game to Monday night – particularly in the past two weeks – Steelers v. Patriots and then Steelers v. Eagles. Just a quick looks proves that in Week 14, the NY Jets @ Steelers would probably be a better game than Kansas City @ Tennessee, but we wouldn’t have known that last season.

  2. Eric says:

    Did the deal end DirectTV’s monopoly on the Sunday Ticket? If not, then that’s pretty damn un-fan friendly.

  3. Jay Solo says:

    It’s funny, I don’t really “do” sports, but I always enjoy the business angle, seeing what teams or leagues do right or wrong, how they decline or rebuild, etc. Something on business moves in sports are always good CotC fodder.