NFL Extends TV Network Broadcast Deals Through 2022

1:09 PM PST 12/14/2011 by Alex Ben Block
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Under the agreement, the league will be able to expand its package of games on Thursday night on the NFL Network beginning next year.

Providing proof that live event programming and football are important draws for broadcast television, the National Football League on Wednesday announced it has agreed to nine-year extensions of its relationships with CBS, Fox and NBC.

Starting in 2014 and through 2022, the three networks will together pay the league an average of about $3 billion a year, more than 50 percent above the cost of the current deal. The NFL’s current deals with the broadcasters were to expire in 2013.

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"These agreements underscore the NFL’s unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "The agreements would not have been possible without our new 10-year labor agreement. and the players deserve great credit. Long-term labor peace is allowing the NFL to continue to grow, and the biggest beneficiaries are the players and fans."

Under the agreement, the NFL will be able to expand its package of games on Thursday night on the NFL Network beginning next year. The league had said it wanted to expand on Thursdays to cover games in the first half of the season, but speculation was the package would go out for bid. For now at least, those games will air on the league's NFL Network, which already had Thursday night games in the second half of the season.

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NBC will continue to air the Thursday night season kickoff game and carry the primetime game on Thanksgiving (which had been on the NFL Network) starting in 2012. It will also exchange one of its current wild-card postseason games for a divisional playoff game and get the rights to launch a Sunday morning pregame show on NBC Sports Network (the future name of sister cable network Versus).

The contract continues flexible scheduling, meaning the networks will be able to move games around to get the most exciting matchups on TV.  However, beginning in 2014, the contract will allow games to be moved between CBS and Fox so that important matchups can be seen by a wider audience.

According to the NFL, 23 of the 25 most-watched shows on TV this fall were NFL games, often drawing twice the viewership of other primetime shows.

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American Football Conference games will continue to air on CBS on Sunday afternoons. CBS first aired the NFL in 1956.

Fox will continue to carry National Football Conference games on Sundays as it has since it acquired rights in 1994.

NBC continues Sunday Night Football, which it began in 2006. And the league also receives $1 billion a year from DirecTV for the Sunday Ticket satellite package.

CBS, Fox and NBC will continue to rotate coverage of the Super Bowl, but NBC gets three title games in the new contract: the 2015 game in Glendale, Ariz. and the games in 2018 and 2021. CBS will broadcast the Super Bowl in 2016, 2019 and 2022, and Fox has it in 2017, 2020 and 2023.

Earlier this year, ESPN reached an eight-year extension that keeps Monday Night Football on the cable network through 2021, with annual rights fees increasing from $1.1 billion to $1.9 billion.
  

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