You didn’t think the NFL was going to operate on a discount, did you? Just days after it was reported the NFL planned to double ESPN’s rights fees, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports writes it might be NBC who sees the largest increase.
Of the NFL’s current TV deals which are nearing expiration, NBC pays less than ESPN, CBS or FOX, even though they get the strongest game package with Sunday Night Football. Signed in 2011, the current agreement with the NFL costs NBC $950 million annually, less than half of the $1.9 billion ESPN pays for Monday Night Football. It’s also less than the $1.1 billion FOX pays, and the $1 billion rights fee CBS shells out each year for their Sunday afternoon game packages.
Despite NBC paying close to $1 billion per year in rights fees, their Sunday Night Football package looks like a bargain when compared to other network partnerships with the NFL. As the NFL hopes to lock their new rights deals in by March 17, the start of the new league year, they’re asking broadcast partners to pay between 50-100 percent more than their current deals. Expect NBC to see the higher end of those increases.
While NBC has been paying the least, they’ve been receiving the best, thanks in part to being the only league partner with flexible scheduling. It allows NBC to swap their matchup for a more attractive one from the FOX and CBS Sunday game schedule during Weeks 5-17, despite the other networks paying more in rights fees.
NBC gets more, but they also hold up their end of the bargain to the NFL. Sunday Night Football boasts a premium broadcasting crew and has been ranked the No. 1 TV show in prime time for 10 straight years.
NBC similarly recognizes how valuable its NFL property is and won’t be willing to relinquish Sunday Night Football. If the NFL wants their TV partners to pay between 50-100% more in rights fees, the network that receives the most and pays the least is going to find themselves at the top of the increase.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.