ESPN pays $15bn for NFL rights

ESPN has extended its contract with the NFL by eight years in a record $15.2 billion deal that keeps live American football on Walt Disney’s sports cable television network.

The deal covers ESPN’s prized Monday Night Football slot, one of the network’s most lucrative series and an enduring hit advertisers keen to target young male consumers.

The contract, which starts in 2014 at the end of the current deal and runs to the end of 2021, represents a substantial increase on the previous deal, reaffirms the value of marquee sports properties in a fragmenting media landscape.

ESPN is paying for a broader portfolio of digital rights to be included in the contract, including 3D distribution on the network’s new 3D channel. ESPN subscribers will also be able to watch live Monday night games on their iPads or other mobile devices.