The NFL logo is displayed at midfield during an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, FIle)

The NFL logo is displayed at midfield during an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, FIle)

Why NFL’s very rich owners are about to get even richer

League on the verge of extending broadcast deals, Amazon likely to acquire streaming rights

There are some very rich people about to get a whole lot richer. Who else but NFL owners?

Probably within the next week, those 32 multi-millionaires/billionaires will see their future earnings increase exponentially. The league is on the verge of extending its broadcast deals with its current partners, and with a new full-time rights holder in Amazon likely acquiring streaming rights.

The astronomical numbers figure to double in many cases, displaying once more that despite a pandemic, lower ratings for the 2020 season, and the waves of viewers finding alternate ways to watch games, the NFL is the most desirable of all commodities for broadcasters.

“There is so much interest in the NFL coming back in broadcasting and digital and all the ancillary programming and fantasy leagues and sports gambling,” says Marc Ganis, co-founder of Chicago-based consulting group Sportscorp and a confidant of many NFL owners. “Nobody wants to leave the NFL right now.”

That’s particularly evident when it comes to television. Though the networks, mainly Disney-owned ESPN/ABC, may have balked at the rights fees the NFL is seeking over the next decade, they also pretty much are swallowing hard and ponying up.

ESPN spent the most in the current deal at $1.9 billion annually — increased to $2 billion once it got a wild-card playoff game. That provided it the Monday night showcase and the playoff representation. The league is eager for some of the Monday nighters to land on free-to-air ABC, while Disney is even more eager to get back into the Super Bowl mix on ABC.

The price tag probably won’t approach $2 billion per season, but it will increase substantially. And only ESPN’s deal ends after the upcoming season; the rest go through 2022.

Fox currently has a Sunday afternoon package of primarily NFC games and the Thursday night package at $1.76 billion per year. Amazon — with cable’s NFL Network, owned by the league — is in line to grab the prime-time portion, but Fox’s fee for the Sunday games could double from $1.1 billion.

CBS, which once had the Thursday night package, is paying $1 billion a year for the Sunday afternoon AFC-dominated telecasts and also seems headed for doubling that.

NBC, which has next February’s Super Bowl — potentially in the middle of the Winter Olympics that the network also broadcasts — has been paying $950 million a year for the prized Sunday night deal. That, too, could double in rights fees.

Amazon’s buy-in is projected in the $1 billion range. And then there’s the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package of out-of-town telecasts, which is at $1.5 billion annually and figures to jump to $2 billion or so — with several bidders lined up.

So, from $7.185 billion a year to, say, $12 billion is in the ballpark.

Why is the league so eager to get the broadcast extensions done now? The NFL’s business year begins March 17.

Well, most stadiums were fully empty for all of 2020, and team expenses skyrocketed during the pandemic-impacted season. The loss of incoming revenues means a reduced salary cap this year (to about $183 million), and would have heavily impacted future caps without the upcoming tidal wave of rights fees profits.

There’s also the financial security the new contracts will provide. Not that Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft needs to worry where his next dollar is coming from. But they soon will know where their next millions of dollars are coming from.

The players, who wisely agreed to a new labour deal a year ago before the COVID-19 pandemic hit full force, will see the fruits of that pact throughout the decade. Not this year, when the new broadcast deals won’t have much effect. But definitely down the road paved with gold.

And despite how much they will be shelling out, the broadcast partners will benefit. Just look at the TV ratings for 2020, the newsiest of years with the pandemic; a stormy presidential election campaign and aftermath; and a racial and social awakening in America. Yes, the number of eyeballs watching on television dropped for the NFL, but the league still brought in an average of 15.6 million television and digital viewers during the regular season, according to the league and Nielsen.

As general managers or coaches like to say after making a trade, “It’s a win/win for everyone.” In this case, that’s almost certainly true.

NFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Moricetown, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Erin O’Toole, Conservative Party of Canada leader, answered questions during a Terrace District Chamber of Commerce event on April 6, 2021. (Screenshot/Terrace District Chamber of Commerce Facebook)
Erin O’Toole discusses Terrace issues during virtual event

Federal Conservative leader answered questions during a Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce event

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read