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

Police are seeking the public’s assistance identifying a man who allegedly robbed a Vernon business the evening of Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Police search for man who allegedly robbed Vernon business with weapon

The suspect is said to have threatened an employee before running off with two bottles of liquor

City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal is prepared to move that Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Back downtown businesses with legacy fund: Vernon city councillor

Coun. Dalvir Nahal ready to propose the closure of Main Street to bolster economic recover amid pandemic

The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce is part of a consortium of North Okanagan-Shuswap chambers that will be hiring advisors to help rural businesses with economic recovery strategies. (Black Press file)
Funding to assist rural North Okanagan-Shuswap businesses with COVID-19 recovery

Chambers of commerce receive grant funding for business recovery advisors

The community boat launch located at 8835 Okanagan Landing Road has been closed due to safety concerns. (City of Vernon - Contributed)
Safety concerns close public Vernon boat launch

City seeking feedback on variety of locations for future improvements

The Vernon Aquatic Centre’s waterslide has reopened after being closed March 26 for repairs. (City of Vernon - photo)
Vernon Aquatic Centre’s waterslide reopens

Popular attraction was shut down March 26 for repairs

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A lit cigarette tossed from a passing car is believed to be the cause of a grass fire which was only held to a ditch by the quick action of passersby in Salmon Arm on April 19. (Pixabay image)
Passersby fight Salmon Arm roadside grass fire believed started by flicked cigarette

Dry conditions prompt warning from resident, fire department

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Canada Post has moved up parcel delivery deadlines within Canada in response to unprecedented holiday demand during COVID-19 but is still telling Canadians to expect delays. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mail suspended at Kelowna condo after mask-less residents spotted in lobby

Residents were asked to pick up their mail at Canada Post’s office on Baillie Avenue

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

This cougar alert was posted near Chilliwack after a cougar was reported in the area on April 10, 2021. (Black Press - File)
Dog killed by cougar near Penticton

The band issued a warning to keep an eye on children and pets in the area

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

BC Wildfire Service file.
So far, fire season in Kamloops region about average

Unseasonably warm temperatures as of late are drying out ground fuel

Most Read