The NFL logo is displayed at midfield during an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, FIle)

The NFL logo is displayed at midfield during an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, FIle)

Why NFL’s very rich owners are about to get even richer

League on the verge of extending broadcast deals, Amazon likely to acquire streaming rights

There are some very rich people about to get a whole lot richer. Who else but NFL owners?

Probably within the next week, those 32 multi-millionaires/billionaires will see their future earnings increase exponentially. The league is on the verge of extending its broadcast deals with its current partners, and with a new full-time rights holder in Amazon likely acquiring streaming rights.

The astronomical numbers figure to double in many cases, displaying once more that despite a pandemic, lower ratings for the 2020 season, and the waves of viewers finding alternate ways to watch games, the NFL is the most desirable of all commodities for broadcasters.

“There is so much interest in the NFL coming back in broadcasting and digital and all the ancillary programming and fantasy leagues and sports gambling,” says Marc Ganis, co-founder of Chicago-based consulting group Sportscorp and a confidant of many NFL owners. “Nobody wants to leave the NFL right now.”

That’s particularly evident when it comes to television. Though the networks, mainly Disney-owned ESPN/ABC, may have balked at the rights fees the NFL is seeking over the next decade, they also pretty much are swallowing hard and ponying up.

ESPN spent the most in the current deal at $1.9 billion annually — increased to $2 billion once it got a wild-card playoff game. That provided it the Monday night showcase and the playoff representation. The league is eager for some of the Monday nighters to land on free-to-air ABC, while Disney is even more eager to get back into the Super Bowl mix on ABC.

The price tag probably won’t approach $2 billion per season, but it will increase substantially. And only ESPN’s deal ends after the upcoming season; the rest go through 2022.

Fox currently has a Sunday afternoon package of primarily NFC games and the Thursday night package at $1.76 billion per year. Amazon — with cable’s NFL Network, owned by the league — is in line to grab the prime-time portion, but Fox’s fee for the Sunday games could double from $1.1 billion.

CBS, which once had the Thursday night package, is paying $1 billion a year for the Sunday afternoon AFC-dominated telecasts and also seems headed for doubling that.

NBC, which has next February’s Super Bowl — potentially in the middle of the Winter Olympics that the network also broadcasts — has been paying $950 million a year for the prized Sunday night deal. That, too, could double in rights fees.

Amazon’s buy-in is projected in the $1 billion range. And then there’s the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package of out-of-town telecasts, which is at $1.5 billion annually and figures to jump to $2 billion or so — with several bidders lined up.

So, from $7.185 billion a year to, say, $12 billion is in the ballpark.

Why is the league so eager to get the broadcast extensions done now? The NFL’s business year begins March 17.

Well, most stadiums were fully empty for all of 2020, and team expenses skyrocketed during the pandemic-impacted season. The loss of incoming revenues means a reduced salary cap this year (to about $183 million), and would have heavily impacted future caps without the upcoming tidal wave of rights fees profits.

There’s also the financial security the new contracts will provide. Not that Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft needs to worry where his next dollar is coming from. But they soon will know where their next millions of dollars are coming from.

The players, who wisely agreed to a new labour deal a year ago before the COVID-19 pandemic hit full force, will see the fruits of that pact throughout the decade. Not this year, when the new broadcast deals won’t have much effect. But definitely down the road paved with gold.

And despite how much they will be shelling out, the broadcast partners will benefit. Just look at the TV ratings for 2020, the newsiest of years with the pandemic; a stormy presidential election campaign and aftermath; and a racial and social awakening in America. Yes, the number of eyeballs watching on television dropped for the NFL, but the league still brought in an average of 15.6 million television and digital viewers during the regular season, according to the league and Nielsen.

As general managers or coaches like to say after making a trade, “It’s a win/win for everyone.” In this case, that’s almost certainly true.

NFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID019 cases number have dropped dramatically according to the BC CDC epidemiology mapping for the week of April 11 to 17 . Nurse Angie Z. gets a thumbs up from Delores Campbell, one of the first of 9,008 residents to be vaccinated in the Prince Rupert community vaccination clinics in March. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View.
COVID-19 Case number plummet in Prince Rupert

BCCDC mapping shows a dramatic decrease in pandemic case number in the Prince Rupert region

Dreamfish are hung on the fence at Annunication School in Prince Rupert on April 17 as part of the Stream of Dream eco-education program teaching about local watersheds and salmon habitats. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Stream of Dreams fish swim the fence at Prince Rupert School

Students at Annunciation school learned about watershed protection and salmon habitat

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Registered Nurse, Teresa Friesen immunizes Dunrovin resident, Richard Brophy. Resident’s at the home were the first in Quesnel to receive COVID-19 vaccines. (Submitted Photo)
COLUMN: Vaccine floodgates should be opened

This editor’s column first appeared in the April 14 edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read