The NFL continues to gather eyeballs like no televised product. As the audience continues to splinter, the NFL’s ability to bring millions to one place at the same time has more and more value.
And the NFL knows it.
Alex Sherman of CNBC recently reported that the league hopes to double the broadcast rights fees from its network partners. Per the report, CBS, FOX, and NBC are “likely to accept increases closer to 100% than Disney.”
Disney (which owns ESPN and ABC) reportedly has rejected a 100-percent bump, citing the high price already paid for Monday Night Football.
It will be interesting to see whether Disney’s reluctance puts Monday Night Football. Disney could be hinging its position on the likelihood that no one else would pay as much or more than Disney is willing to pay. With the current MNF deal running through 2021 while all other deals last until 2022, the clock is ticking more loudly for Disney and the NFL than it is for the NFL and its other partners.
Peter King of NBC Sports suggested recently that the new deals would cover 10 years. That would give the NFL a decade of certainty along with historic revenue. There’s a chance, frankly, that the fees could eventually become 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 10 years from now another doubling of the fees.