So far, one TV network is pushing back -- Walt Disney’s ESPN,
which has been paying $1.9 billion a year in a 10-year deal to air “Monday Night Football,” according to estimates. That's much more than other NFL TV network packages.
The NFL wants huge hikes in rights fees from its partner TV networks in its initial negotiations -- double the price tag of the previous TV deals, according to CNBC.
The deal ends -- as well as with other major TV networks’ NFL packages -- after the 2021 season.
The 100% hike in rights fees over the previous “Monday Night Football” deal
would increase to $3.8 billion a year -- the priciest for any of the NFL TV packages.
ESPN’s current annual rights fee to the NFL has been virtually twice that of other TV networks.
Fox pays an estimated $1.1 billion a year for NFC conference Sunday afternoon games. Fox also airs “Thursday Night Football, which it shares with NFL Network for much of the year. That five-year deal ends after the 2022 season.
CBS pays a projected $1 billion a year for the AFC conference Sunday afternoon games, while NBC pays $960 million for “Sunday Night Football.”
The report says the NFL wants to close its TV deals by mid-March.
NFL regular-season games were down 7% to a Nielsen-measured 15.4 million viewers in 2020. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which averaged 12.2 million viewers, is down 3% from 2019.
NFL and ESPN representatives declined to comment.
For the 2020 NFL season, national TV advertising revenues for all NFL TV games climbed 16% to $5.2 billion from $4.5 billion in 2019, according to iSpot.tv.