NFL Looking For Massive Hikes In TV Rights Fees

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.

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 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

3 comments about "NFL Looking For Massive Hikes In TV Rights Fees".
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  1. Mark Laurence from Greater Media, February 22, 2021 at 1:29 p.m.

    Good for ESPN. Who will end up paying these monstrous bills in the form of "broadcast and sports fees?" You and me, unless we cut the cord. This system of bidding up prices with our money has got to stop.

  2. Suzanne Sell from Independent, February 22, 2021 at 3:12 p.m.

    That's pretty ballsy in a year when so many people are out of work and worried about housing, etc.! The NFL needs to nix egregious pay bumps for players and coaches, or they'll find out that there is a limit to what fans will accept.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 22, 2021 at 6:16 p.m.

    Wayne, the pro sports leagues may get away with huge rights hikes one last time but there are limits for advertisers who have long sponsored these TV franchises no matter what their CPMs. It's not so much a matter of audience size or even demos---though the TV audience for sports is aging just like every other type of "linear TV" fare. But there comes a point where the many intangibles---association with macho sports, merchandising, tie -ins with the teams, stars, etc. become just too expensive and cut backs are required. I wonder if the greedy players and their agents are watching developments along these lines as carefully as they should. The day of reckoning may be only four or five years hence.

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