NFL football will continue to be
big business for the major TV broadcast networks for at least another decade -- with each paying big license fee increases for new deals.
Following on the heels of an ESPN deal made in September, the three broadcast networks signed nine-year new deals extending through the 2022 season. The new agreement begins in 2014.
Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, it has been speculated that the broadcast networks would pay increased license fees to the NFL by more than 60%. Current deals with Fox, CBS, and NBC range from around $700 million to $900 million a year.
ESPN also inked a multi-year deal with the league through 2012 in September, agreeing to pay 73% more per year for its "Monday Night Football" package to around $1.9 billion, according to reports.
Each of the networks -- Fox, CBS, and NBC -- will retain their special pieces of the NFL deal. Fox continues to air National Football Conference (NFC) games; CBS will again air American Football Conference (AFC) games; while NBC continues with "Sunday Night Football," which includes a mix of teams from both conferences.
Fox, CBS and NBC will each get
three Super Bowls -- as well as various playoff games.
One new piece: each of the agreements also includes fully authenticated "TV everywhere" rights. This enables the networks to broadcast the games and other NFL content on their respective digital areas on digital platforms -- but not mobile phones.
As part of the deals, the NFL will expand its "flexible scheduling" plan, whereby NFL can move games between Fox and CBS that would bring regional games to wider audiences. This already exists for other packages, including NBC's "Sunday Night Football." Further details are yet to come.
For Fox, the deal represents the fourth media rights NFL deal. It started with the league back in a deal struck on December 1993. CBS Sports began airing NFL games back in 1956, and began airing the NFC package from 1970 through 1993. After a five-year break, it began airing AFC games in 1998.
NBC's original "Sunday Night Football" agreement, which began in 2006, included 17 regular-season games, increasing to 18 in 2010 -- with the new deal giving NBC 19 games, including upgraded playoff games. Previously, NBC had aired AFC games from 1970 to 1998. Before this, NBC aired games from the American Football League, starting in 1964.