What the NFL’s Latest TV Deal Tells Us About the Future of the League
The NFL reached a new media broadcast rights agreement worth over $113 billion over 11 seasons, according to the AP.
2023 marks the first year of the new 10 year contract.
It will give the league over $10 billion a year in media revenue, an increase of $4.1 billion on the current deal that is set to expire after next season.
Viewers who are used to seeing their Sunday games on CBS, FOX, and NBC will continue to do so.
ESPN having the ability to flex the Monday Night Football matchup in weeks 12-16 is an added bonus in the new TV deal as well.
What stands out to me most in the new deal is what it means for the future of the league from a viewer standpoint. It's clear, the NFL is diving deeper into streaming.
“This provides our fans with greater access," said commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. "We want to provide our games on more platforms than ever before.”
Amazon reportedly paid $1 billion to have exclusive rights to 15 Thursday Night Football games a season, beginning in 2023. If one of the teams in the game is not in your home market, the only way to watch TNF is on Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime has streamed some Thursday Night Football games in the past but never had exclusivity. Last season, they had exclusivity (outside of home markets) to one Saturday game late in the season.
In addition, streaming services ESPN+ and Peacock will have exclusive rights to one game a season.
On top of that, each network will simultaneously stream each game it airs on its own streaming services. CBS will simulcast on Paramount+. NBC on Peacock. ESPN on ESPN+, and Fox on Tubi.
Three of those four streaming services did not exist a year and a half ago. Now they will be airing NFL games.
The most telling aspect of the latest NFL media rights deal is clearly the large influx of streaming.
Every NFL game will air on a streaming-only service.
While the NFL's popularity continues to grow, the consumer will now have to pay more money to watch it all.
In the past, the league has always operated with the mantra of having the best games available for free on network television. Is that changing?
Beginning in 2023, up to 17 games will only be available via streaming service.
As television continues its transition into a streaming world, so will the NFL.
When the league's next TV deal begins in 2034, expect an even larger number of games being exclusive to a streaming service. A younger generation of fans who never watch traditional TV will be the big draw, and streaming will be the coup de grâce to the vast majority of games being available on network television.
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