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`NFL on CBS`: Jim Nantz, left, lead NFL play-by-play announcer; and Tony Romo, lead analyst. (Photo credit: John Paul Filo/CBS CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc./all rights reserved)
"NFL on CBS": Jim Nantz, left, lead NFL play-by-play announcer; and Tony Romo, lead analyst. (Photo credit: John Paul Filo/CBS CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc./all rights reserved)

NFL sets deals with networks, streamers

Thu, Mar 18th 2021 10:25 pm

ViacomCBS, NFL Reach New, Long-Term Multiplatform Rights Agreement through 2033 Season

The National Football League and ViacomCBS announced a new 11-year multiplatform rights agreement that extends CBS’ long-standing relationship with the NFL through the 2033 season.

CBS Sports continues as the home of the NFL’s American Football Conference (AFC), featuring many of the game’s brightest young stars, with all games broadcast on the CBS Television Network and streamed live on Paramount+, ViacomCBS’ flagship streaming service. This agreement also grants an expansive list of NFL rights across ViacomCBS networks and platforms, enabling the company to maximize its content creation, distribution and reach throughout the length of the deal.

The new agreement, which begins with the 2023 season, allows for CBS Sports to broadcast and stream more Sunday afternoon games than ever before and also includes an expanded schedule of games featuring teams from the National Football Conference (NFC). In addition, the schedule is highlighted by 10 CBS doubleheaders, including the NFL’s most-watched window (Sundays at 4:25 p.m. ET), eight singleheaders and the annual Thanksgiving day game. CBS Sports will broadcast three Super Bowls over the length of the deal, including the first in the new agreement, Super Bowl LVIII in 2024, as well as Super Bowl LXII in 2028 and Super Bowl LXVI in 2032.

The CBS Television Network and Paramount+ will also present a full slate of playoff games each season, featuring the AFC Championship game, one Divisional game and one Wild Card game. A second Wild Card game will be added to the CBS Sports lineup during the 2024, 2029 and 2033 seasons.

ViacomCBS will retain its extensive in-market exclusivity, ensuring the CBS-affiliated stations and ViacomCBS platforms will continue to be the source for local availability of “The NFL on CBS.” CBS will also gain increased rights to protect games from being flexed to other networks and time slots.

Paramount+ has been granted new and expanded rights for the streaming service, allowing for the flexibility to distribute NFL games on both the premium tier at $9.99 and the new $4.99 ad-supported tier that will debut in June. The rights begin with the 2021 season and extend throughout the length of the new deal to 2033.

“We are thrilled to extend and expand our long-term partnership with the NFL to create even more value for ViacomCBS and for NFL fans,” said Bob Bakish, president and CEO, ViacomCBS. “Today’s groundbreaking deal ensures that more big games will be available on CBS and Paramount+, with greater NFL programming opportunities featured across all ViacomCBS platforms including Pluto TV, vastly expanding the NFL’s reach among younger audiences in a rapidly evolving media landscape. NFL football is both a pillar of CBS Sports and huge differentiator for our streaming strategy, and our extensive partnership with the NFL will be fundamental to further driving growth and engagement on Paramount+ for years to come.”

The NFL/ViacomCBS agreement includes a wide array of expanded rights, ensuring that, as the media landscape evolves, ViacomCBS has extensive rights to innovate its content creation and distribution, reaching a variety of audiences across its various networks, properties and platforms. The broad rights grant includes expanded rights across CBS’ digital and social platforms, and the ability to implement interactive features for consumers on Paramount+ and via ViacomCBS’ distribution partners. The company also has the capability to collaborate with the NFL to create alternate game telecasts, similar to the acclaimed, family-friendly Wild Card playoff game production on Nickelodeon this past January. Additionally, CBS has the opportunity to partner with the NFL for legalized sports betting applications.

ViacomCBS and the NFL have also agreed to long-term rights extensions for CBS Sports HQ, Pluto TV and “Inside the NFL,” which will stream exclusively on Paramount+ beginning with the 2021 season.

CBS Sports first began televising NFL regular-season games in 1956, and this season marks its 62nd season. CBS Sports had broadcast rights to the NFC package from 1970 through 1993 and began televising the AFC package in 1998.

NBCSports logo

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NBCUniversal & NFL Reach 11-Year Extension & Expansion for ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBCUniversal and the NFL announced an 11-year extension and expansion for NBC Sports to continue as the home of “Sunday Night Football,” primetime television’s No. 1 show for an unprecedented 10 consecutive years.

With the new agreement, which begins with the 2023 NFL season, NBC and Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, will present “Sunday Night Football” through 2033 – a span of 28 seasons for NBC as the home of the NFL’s premier primetime package (since its 2006 debut).

In addition, beginning with the upcoming 2021 season, Peacock will stream all NBC “Sunday Night Football” games and the “Football Night in America” studio show. Peacock will also produce a new exclusive, expanded postgame show following “SNF” each week.

NBC Sports, which produced the first-ever NFL broadcast on Oct. 22, 1939 (Philadelphia Eagles-Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field), will present four of the next 13 Super Bowls, including three Super Bowls as part of the new agreement. Home of the upcoming Super Bowl LVI from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles in February 2022, NBC and Peacock will broadcast and stream Super Bowls in February 2026, February 2030 and February 2034.

NBC Sports’ presentation of Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015 is the most-watched show in U.S. television history (114.4 million viewers on NBC).

In each of the next 13 seasons, NBC will broadcast a Divisional Playoff game. In addition, NBC will televise two Wild Card playoff games during the 2021, 2022, 2023, 2026 and 2031 seasons, with a single Wild Card telecast in all other seasons. In each of the next seven seasons, NBC will broadcast a Sunday primetime Wild Card game.

All NBC NFL postseason games will stream live on Peacock.

Peacock will also serve as the exclusive national home of six NFL regular-season games – one each year from 2023-28 (giving NBC Sports an additional regular-season game in those seasons) – and will launch a virtual NFL channel, highlighting classic games, as well as NFL Films’ series, library and archival content, which will all also be available on demand. NBC Sports will have the option to incorporate enhanced and interactive features in game presentations to be streamed live on NBC digital platforms, including Peacock.

“We are excited to expand upon our relationship with the NFL, which is the most powerful content in sports and entertainment,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman, NBC Sports Group. “ ‘Sunday Night Football’ has been television’s most-watched primetime show for a decade, and we look forward to continuing our best-in-class presentation of ‘SNF,’ Super Bowls, and playoff games for many years to come, while also broadening our audience with Peacock becoming the live streaming home for all NBC NFL games.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Comcast and the NBC family have been outstanding partners for us and we are excited to continue that relationship long into the future. ‘Sunday Night Football’ is firmly established as the No. 1 show in primetime television, and we are looking forward to working with NBC and Peacock to continue to bring the NFL to more fans in more ways than ever before.”

NBC Sports will continue its tradition of opening each season with the NFL Kickoff Game, as the first regular-season game in the “SNF” package, which also includes the Thanksgiving night primetime game. The NFL’s flexible scheduling for “SNF,” which was instituted in 2006, will begin in week 5 each season.

Each NFL Sunday on NBC will once again begin with “Football Night in America,” the most-watched studio show in sports in every year since its 2006 debut.

Telemundo Deportes, the U.S. destination for the biggest global sporting events in Spanish-language, will present all NBC NFL games on television in Spanish beginning in 2023, also available to be live streamed on Peacock.

In January, NBC concluded its 15th season of “SNF,” topping all primetime television series in the fall and once again pacing to finish as primetime’s No. 1 TV show in all key metrics for an unprecedented 10th consecutive year. NBC’s “SNF” extended its record for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on official live plus same day data provided by Nielsen.

Fox Corporation Announces New, 11-Year Media Rights Agreement with NFL

Fox Corporation announced a new and expanded media rights agreement with the NFL that runs through the 2033 season. The 11-yearagreement extends FOX’s coverage of premier NFC games, creates new and exclusive holiday games on FOX, and expands FOX’s digital rights to enable future direct-to-consumer opportunities as well as NFL programming on FOX’s AVOD streaming service Tubi. Additionally, FOX will not extend its “Thursday Night Football” contract beyond its current expiration after the 2022 NFL season.

“Today we extend our 27-year partnership with the NFL and solidify the foundation of our marquee sports portfolio beyond the end of the decade. In addition to maintaining our leading Sunday afternoon NFC package, we are pleased to broaden our deal to include new digital rights that provide us with the flexibility to deliver NFL on FOX to customers in expanded and innovative ways,” Executive Chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said. “This long-term agreement ensures that we will continue to deliver the best in football coverage to our viewers while also strengthening and providing optionality to our business.”

Among the highlights of the new agreement are:

√ FOX will create an NFL experience on Tubi consisting of premiere VOD as well as condensed games throughout the NFL season

√ FOX extended its rights to continue free-to-play wagering game, FOX Bet Super 6

√ FOX Bet will receive authorized sportsbook operator status if, and when, the NFL approves official sportsbook operators for its officially licensed intellectual property

√ FOX will broadcast four of the next 12 Super Bowls, including the games in 2023, 2025, 2029 and 2033

√ FOX will produce special Christmas Day games as the schedule allows

√ FOX will continue to be the exclusive home of the NFC Championship game

√ FOX increased its NFL footage rights to use across linear and digital programming

√ FOX broadened its presentation rights using interactivity and alternate feeds

√ FOX Deportes gained additional Spanish language rights

The FOX flagship “America’s Game of the Week” has been the most-watched show in all of television for the past 12 seasons and the most-watched NFL window for the past 20 seasons.

The NFC package that FOX will continue to broadcast is strategically aligned with the locations of FOX’s owned and operated television stations. FOX Television Stations owns and operates the FOX affiliate in 14 of the 16 NFC markets.

Walt Disney Company, ESPN & NFL Reach Landmark Long-Term Agreement

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the NFL have reached a wide-ranging, long-term agreement that will result in ABC/ESPN joining the Super Bowl rotation, additional playoff action, exclusive national ESPN+ matchups over the course of the agreement, significantly more regular-season contests including “Monday Night Football,” enhanced game quality, new schedule flexibility and more. The historic 10-year agreement, which begins with the 2023 season, was announced by Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company; Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN and Sports Content; and Goodell.

Chapek said, “This landmark agreement guarantees that ESPN’s passionate fan base will continue to have access to the best the NFL has to offer. Bringing all the considerable and unique capabilities of The Walt Disney Company and ESPN to the table opens up so many opportunities across our industry-leading direct-to-consumer, broadcast, cable, linear, social and digital outlets. Special thanks to Roger Goodell and the NFL owners for continuing to embrace new ways to appeal to their fans, especially through increasingly important platforms like ESPN+.”

Goodell said, “We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Disney far into the future, as ESPN will continue to host cable’s most-watched series, ‘Monday Night Football,’ and ABC is returning as a Super Bowl broadcaster. We look forward to working with Disney as they use new platforms, including ESPN+, in innovative ways to reach even more NFL fans.”

ABC/ESPN will carry two Super Bowls (2026, 2030 seasons) as part of a rotation between the NFL’s media partners, marking the first time that an ESPN-NFL agreement included such Super Bowl rights. ABC last televised the Super Bowl in February 2006 (2005 NFL season). Also, ESPN will present more playoff action, adding an annual divisional round game to its schedule, which will continue to include a wild-card matchup.

A highlight of ESPN’s increased regular-season package will be one annual exclusive national game on ESPN+, the industry-leading sports streaming service. The game will take place internationally and will be aired live in the Sunday morning ET window. Additionally, this agreement allows ESPN the opportunity to simulcast all ESPN/ABC game telecasts on ESPN+.

Also included is rights for the return of ESPN+ “NFL PrimeTime,” the iconic NFL highlights show, each week on the streaming platform. “NFL PrimeTime” is the most-watched, non-game ESPN+ original program. Since its 2018 launch, ESPN+ has showcased a wide variety of top quality NFL content, including the highly acclaimed “Peyton’s Places,” and the upcoming multipart “Man in the Arena” series focusing on Tom Brady’s Super Bowl journeys.

ESPN+ has grown to 12.1 million subscribers.

ESPN will increase its regular-season schedule by 35% - six more games per year (from 17 to 23). It will include an ESPN game on Monday nights (including three weeks with a separate game on ABC), a Saturday doubleheader the season’s final week, and the Sunday morning game on ESPN+. “Monday Night Football,” which has been aired on ESPN in primetime since 2006, remains cable’s most-watched series.

The added two Saturday games will take place during the final week of the regular season and will showcase matchups with playoff implications. Both of those games will be simulcast on ABC and ESPN.

The agreement includes new elements that will enhance the caliber of the “MNF” slate. First, the schedule will be more flexible than in years past with the ability for the NFL to swap a more meaningful game into the “MNF” slot with 12 days’ notice from Week 12 on. Additionally, top teams will appear more often, as a result of the agreement which provides ESPN the ability to showcase any four teams at least twice, leading to even more compelling games.

As part of the agreement, ESPN will supplement its game coverage with the most extensive NFL content at scale across every available platform. Fueled by comprehensive NFL highlights rights, ESPN will continue to offer and/or develop NFL-branded programming (e.g. – “NFL Live”), pre- and postgame shows, news, analysis and highlights studio shows, storytelling vehicles, digital and social content and much more. It also includes data rights (e.g. – NFL’s Next Gen stats).

In addition, ESPN has once again secured rights to the annual Pro Bowl. Other key elements include opportunities for alternate telecasts (e.g. – MegaCasts), extending and expanding ESPN’s international rights (including areas in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania, India), ESPN Deportes and more.

ESPN has also obtained rights to NFL Drafts, an event that has been an ESPN fixture since 1980, as part of the agreement.

The rights in this new agreement provide flexibility to maximize current and potential future distribution of ESPN.

The 2021 season will be the last in ESPN’s current arrangement with the NFL. ESPN and the NFL have reached a bridge agreement for 2022 – the year between when the previous agreement expires and the new 10-year extension begins. For both the 2021 and 2022 seasons, all the foundational components from the agreement expiring in 2021 will be included (e.g. – weekly “MNF” games), in addition to select elements from the new 10-year agreement. For example, in 2021, ESPN will be adding the two Saturday games with playoff implications on the last weekend of the regular-season. For the 2022 bridge year, ESPN will showcase the two Saturday games with playoff implications on the last weekend of the season, a Sunday morning ESPN+ game and one ABC “MNF” broadcast on a week there is also an ESPN “MNF” telecast.

ESPN has been delivering distinctive NFL content since its first calendar year. A combination of live NFL games (since 1987) and groundbreaking studio programming have led the way. Today, ESPN’s platforms provide in-depth, year-round coverage of the league, from NFL game action to special events, to news, highlights, analysis and storytelling.

Amazon Logo courtesy of Amazon press site

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Amazon Prime Video Makes History as First Streaming Service to Secure Exclusive National Broadcast Package From NFL, Becoming Home for ‘Thursday Night Football’ Beginning in 2023

BUSINESS WIRE

Amazon and the NFL made history Thursday by announcing a 10-year agreement to exclusively broadcast 15 “Thursday Night Football” games and one preseason game per year on Prime Video in the U.S. The deal begins in 2023 and is the NFL’s first exclusive national broadcast package with a digital streaming service. The number of regular-season games included in the “Thursday Night Football” package is increasing from 11 to 15, with all games airing on Prime Video as part of a Prime membership.

“NFL games are the most watched live programming in the United States, and this unprecedented ‘Thursday Night Football’ package gives tens of millions of new and existing Prime members exclusive access to must-watch live football on Prime Video,” said Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios. “NFL fans from across the country will enjoy a premium viewing experience with ‘Thursday Night Football,’ as well as access to a broad selection of content including award-winning Amazon Originals available on Prime Video.”

Goodell said, “ ‘Thursday Night Football’ will be our first-ever digital package, and we are thrilled to exclusively partner with Amazon to bring our games to more fans on more platforms. NFL football drives passionate viewers and Amazon will enable us to continue to grow our fanbase in innovative and compelling ways.”

Prime Video will deliver new pregame, halftime and postgame shows, and it will continue to offer fan-favorite interactive features such as X-Ray and Next Gen Stats, which provide a more customizable viewing experience.

As part of the new deal, Prime Video also secured rights to a weekly slate of original NFL programming and expanded rights to in-game highlights for all NFL matchups. Prime Video and the NFL will continue to collaborate on exclusive NFL content and enhanced fan viewing experiences around “TNF,” with more information to come ahead of the first game in 2023.

This announcement is a continuation of an expanding relationship between the NFL and Amazon, which first distributed a simulcast of “TNF” during the 2017 season. In April 2020, Amazon and the NFL expanded the existing 11-game “TNF” package on Prime Video to include one exclusive regular-season game per year, the first of which was played Dec. 26 between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. The matchup drew an estimated 11.2 million total viewers and delivered the highest digital average-minute audience ever for an NFL regular-season game. Additionally, since 2017, the NFL has used Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its official cloud and machine learning provider for Next Gen Stats, which provides real-time location, speed and acceleration data for every player during every play on every inch of the field.

In keeping with the NFL's long-standing commitment to make its games available on free, over-the-air television, each game will also be televised in the participating teams’ home marketplaces.

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