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Monday, January 30, 2006

NFL Keeps New 8-Game Package In House

After months of negotiations, the NFL has awarded its NFL Network the rights to a new, eight-game primetime football package beginning this fall.

The move is ballsy in that the NFL shunned a short-term windfall (usually a given) for a long-term investment in its cable network. The addition of the games will surely help the channel's distribution and ad sales.

Sources said Comcast, NBC Universal, News Corp., Turner Broadcasting, Verizon and a major Internet company were competing for the package, which will begin with a 2006 Thanksgiving game.

2 other geekspeak:

  • With this NFL deal decided, it leaves MLB as the only major sports league with its upcoming TV deals undecided. All current MLB deals end after the 2006 season.

    2 existing MLB packages open (although MLB could split up these packages).

    1. Broadcast package, currently held by Fox
    2. Cable package, including playoff games, currently airing on ESPN, but owned by Fox. Games were formerly on Fox Family before being sold to Disney, becomming ABC Family.

    Fox had a tentative deal to co-own a new sports network with MLB, if they got that 8 game NFL package. Now that NFL Network got the games, MLB is likely going to their original plan of launching their own MLB channel, without Fox's involvement.

    This means the contenders for the MLB packages are:
    1. Fox
    2. OLN
    3. ESPN / ABC, similar to their NBA deal with most games on ESPN, but playoff games and World Series on ABC.
    4. A new MLB Network.
    5 & 6: CBS and NBC (although it seems unlikely)

    ESPN has already signed a new MLB deal starting in 2007, the only broadcaster to do so at this point.

    Also, the World Baseball Classic is only a month away, and nobody has announced a deal to televise it...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 PM  

  • Spoke too soon. ESPN/ESPN2 is covering 16 WBC games in English, and all 39 games in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. Now if anyone will watch with March Madness and Spring Training going on...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 AM  

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