Disney is pushing back after the NFL announced it wants to charge its network partners double what they’ve been playing to broadcast games, according to Alex Sherman of CNBC.
Negotiations between its existing network partners NBC, CBS, Fox, and Disney-owned ESPN are currently underway as the league is working to get its primary package renewals completed by March 17.
The gap between the initial offers from Disney and the NFL is around $1 billion per year.
Sources told SBJ’s John Ourand that the NFL’s initial plan was to have ESPN sign a long-term deal that would be worth an average of $3.5 billion. This would be around a 75% increase over the $2 billion average ESPN currently pays.
According to Sherman, “Disney has already rejected paying anywhere close to $3.8 billion per year for its new deal and Disney CEO Bob Chapek alluded to pushing back on the NFL’s asking price during his company’s earnings conference call last week.”
“We’re looking at the long-term trends of sports viewership,” Chapek said on Feb. 11. “We’ve had a long relationship with the NFL. If there’s a deal that will be accretive to shareholder value, we will certainly entertain that and look at that. But our first filter will be to say whether it makes sense for shareholder value going forward.”
As noted by Ourand, “ESPN’s opening bid came in at $2.4 billion per year, which would represent around a 20% increase over the current contract’s annual average.”
In 2011, Disney agreed to pay $1.9 billion annually for Monday Night Football, which will run through 2021.