We are on our way to the playoffs.
While teams and fans are prepared to intensely tune in on live television for the season, there is something else going on. Currently, a battle for ownership over “Monday Night Football” is raging behind-the-scenes.
The NFL is one of the highest-rated programs on television. This means the battle for ownership on the TV is not any small issue, in price or importance.
Further, the NFL’s contract with ESPN (owned by Disney) “Monday Night Football” will expire after 2021.
With the expiration date looming, what could this mean for sports fans and the industry as a whole? Well, the negotiations will come in at full speed.
Right now, the projection is Sunday afternoon games will stay on CBS and Fox and “Monday Night Football” will be on ESPN/ABC. Thursday Night Football will remain with Amazon.
A New NFL Deal Looming
The New York Post reported that the TV right deals in question could last ten years and are a whopping $100 billion in total value. Right now, Amazon is emerging as the front-runner for the package deal.
The possibility of splitting up Super Bowls amongst the networks may be in the 10-year contract. This would mean ABC/ESPN, NBC, CBS, and Fox would all get two each. The last two could see an auction.
While football is a top contender in live television, it has also seen a drop in viewership this season. Ratings were down 7% compared to the 2019 season, so networks are working to fill in that gap, according to Observer.
Networks are making new deals with advertisers. The opportunity to make more money due to the holiday season is now closing. It seems like the large 10-year plan is the ultimate financial move.
Since streaming platforms are just about taking over the world, they are also entering the picture. Amazon extended their “Thursday Night Football” deal for three more seasons.
The Wall Street Journal reported that it would result in a price hike from the original $65 million originally being paid by the company. The Jan. 10 playoff game will be streamed worldwide on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.
It’s just a matter of time before the official word on TV rights is announced. It’s game on for those companies, just as the playoffs are approaching.