After the pandemic resulted in a major financial hit for the NFL, the league announced new TV deals with ESPN/ABC, FOX, NBC and Amazon. The new contracts will run through the 2033 season, with the networks paying roughly a combined $110 billion, per the Sports Business Journal.
“These new media deals will provide our fans even greater access to the games they love. We’re proud to grow our partnerships with the most innovative media companies in the market,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Along with our recently completed labor agreement with the NFLPA, these distribution agreements bring an unprecedented era of stability to the League and will permit us to continue to grow and improve our game.”
As part of the deal, Amazon’s streaming service will be the exclusive home of 15 Thursday Night Football (Thursday games involving your home team will be available on local TV). This marks the first time in history that the NFL signs a contract with a provider that will exclusively broadcast over-the-top. The deal takes effect for the 2022 campaign. The NFL Network will also air select Thursday matchups throughout the season.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts will also be different, beginning with the 2023 season. There will be three Monday doubleheaders each season, with the early game on ESPN followed by the late matchup on ABC.
Given that the San Francisco 49ers are one of the most popular franchises in the NFL, we could see them play the maximum of two MNF games because the Niners are based in the Pacific time zone.
The good news is that ESPN will be able to flex Monday night games beginning in Week 12 each season so that we won’t get stuck with a dud on national TV later in the schedule. As part of ESPN/ABC’s new deal with the NFL, one Sunday morning game will air exclusively on ESPN+, and one Divisional Round game will be on ESPN in addition to the annual wild-card matchup it usually gets.
FOX will continue to hold the rights to the NFC package. The AFC’s coverage stays with CBS while NBC will continue to be the home of Sunday Night Football.
Amazon’s deal will begin in 2022, while ESPN/ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS’s new packages start in 2023.
The NFL’s current deals brought in a combined $5.9 billion per season. The new contracts will bring in roughly $10 billion a year, meaning we should see a big jump in the salary cap moving forward. This will provide NFL teams with some much-needed flexibility after the cap dropped by roughly 8 percent for next season.
This will be a big help for the 49ers, with looming extensions for star players Nick Bosa and Fred Warner on the horizon. San Francisco signed left tackle Trent Williams to a backloaded six-year deal worth up to $138 million this offseason. ESPN’s Field Yates says the contract will be easier to deal with in the coming years due to the expected rise in the cap.
The NFL’s massive new TV deal means a spike in the salary cap in the coming years as well.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 18, 2021
Lucrative deals that have been agreed to this week have a chance to age quite well as teams in future years have much more cap to work with and the price for premium players only goes up.
Here is how the rotation will for Super Bowl broadcasts through 2033:
CBS (2023, 2027, 2031)
FOX (2024, 2028, 2032)
NBC (2025, 2029, 2033)
ABC (2026, 2030)
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post says no deal has been reached for the rights to NFL’s Sunday Ticket package. The current deal with AT&T/DirecTV will expire at the conclusion of the 2022 season. Marchand says that Sunday Ticket could move over to ESPN+ for the 2023 campaign.
ESPN+ has not made a deal for Sunday Ticket, as Craig Carton said. As has been previously been reported, ESPN+ will be in the mix if it moves from DirecTV, as expected. But not yet.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) March 18, 2021
Which part of the new contracts are you looking forward to most? Do you like the idea of six double-headers on MNF? At what price-point will you be willing to sign up for Sunday Ticket?