NFL expects to command big carriage fees from NBC, CBS and FOX

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 02-12-2011

The National Football League is gearing up to renegotiate lucrative carriage deals with CBS, NBC and FOX.

Live sports continues to be a bright spot for broadcasters, consistently gaining top ratings--and top advertising dollars--in a market beset by increasingly time-shifted and online viewing behaviours.
The NFL's current contracts with the trio, said to be jointly worth around $2 billion per year, are set to expire after the 2013 season. According to Reuters, the NFL is expecting to benefit from significant price hikes when it goes back to the negotiation table. It expects to have the deals completed within the next year.
If the recent re-up deal with ESPN is any indication that prediction shouldn't be too difficult to fulfil. ESPN in September agreed to pay $15.2 billion over eight years for the rights to Monday Night Football (as well as online and mobile extensions). That amounts to about 73% more in fees than the expiring contract is worth-- a staggering increase but one that makes sense considering the premium nature of live sports content.
"We think what ESPN paid is an indication of the strength of our product," said Brian Rolapp, COO of NFL Media, speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York.
He also told Reuters that the NFL is also looking to sell TV rights to a whole new package of Thursday night games.
NBC, CBS and FOX will have the first right of refusal for the carriage rights, but the field will open up to other networks should they fail to come to a deal with the NFL within its projected yearlong period.