The NFL continues to collect eyeballs like no television product. As the public continues to divide, the NFL’s ability to bring millions of people together in one place at the same time becomes increasingly valuable.
And the NFL knows it.
CNBC’s Alex Sherman recently reported that the the league hopes to double the broadcasting rights of its network partners. According to the report, CBS, FOX and NBC are “likely to accept increases closer to 100% than Disney.”
Disney (which owns ESPN and ABC) reportedly rejected a 100% increase, citing the high price already paid for Monday night football.
It will be interesting to see if Disney’s reluctance puts Monday night football. Disney could articulate its position on the likelihood that no one else would pay as much or more than Disney is willing to pay. With the current FMN an agreement until 2021 while all other agreements last until 2022, time is running out for Disney and the NFL than for the NFL and its other partners.
NBC Sports’ Peter King recently suggested the new deals cover 10 years. It would give the NFL a decade of certainty as well as historic revenue. There’s a chance, frankly, that the fees could eventually turn into a bargain if the proliferation of legalized sports betting increases interest in the sport.
And that would set the stage for the NFL to seek another fee doubling in 10 years.