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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Prime Time NFL Package: A Loose Ball

Even though Fox and CBS have renewed their Sunday football packages, ESPN/ABC are still balking at the cost of renewing their Sunday/Monday night packages.

This could cause a network change, or even see some big games go to the fledgling NFL Network (which may be the intended endgame anyway). A new Thursday/Saturday package is also being pitched to some football-free outlets.

1 other geekspeak:

  • The deadline for the NFL's current broadcast partners (Fox, CBS and ESPN/ABC) does not expire until late in the 2005-06 NFL season. CBS and Fox, at the NFL's request, renewed a year early at a modest increase, getting some Super Bowls, but losing some Saturday games that wll be part of the Thursday / Saturday package.

    Disney, going through a leadership change at the top, opted to wait until the deadline, especially still in that 2003 PR mess called Playmakers.

    The biggest question of the NFL TV deals, is that if Monday Night football moves to cable, as Disney would rather have if on ESPN instead of ABC, what does it do with the Super Bowl rotation? Almost forever, it's rotated between the carriers of the AFC, NFC and Monday Night.

    Would Fox and CBS then end up with more Super Bowls? Or, could there be a situation where a cable network get one of the 3 remaining NFL packages (Sunday Night, Monday Night, Thursday / Saturday) and then get the Super Bowl for their on-air broadcast cousin.

    Can USA get the Sunday Night package and get the Super Bowl on NBC? Or ESPN get Monday Night yet the Super Bowl airs on ABC?

    Fox is believed to be in the running for Sunday or Monday Night Football for a new national sports network (separate from the regional FSN). Would they get more Super Bowls than CBS if the package they want ends up on cable?

    I think the real question is if the NFL wants to take MNF off broadcast TV. The NBA's last deal had a huge spike in revenue as they moved a substansial number of games, including the All Star Game, to cable, but it may have hurt a lot of momentum, as it is not the same league that Michael Jordan lit up in the 1990s.

    I doubt we'll see the Super Bowl on cable in the next 20 years, but we shall see...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:03 PM  

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