The National Football League Wednesday agreed to
a new nine-year extension with its over-the-air broadcast partners: CBS, Fox
The new agreements will keep football on the
three networks through the 2022 season. The NFL's current television agreements
expire following the 2013 season. The new deals also allow the league to expand
its Thursday night package of games on NFL Network, beginning next season.
CBS will continue to air the AFC package, while Fox
keeps the NFC. Each of the three networks will air three Super Bowls, each over
the course of the agreement on a rotating basis. NBC airs this season's (SB
XLVI). As part of the deal, Fox and CBS receive fully authenticated "TV Everywhere"
rights, allowing them to stream games on their digital platforms (excluding mobile
phones). NBC also receives expanded "TV Everywhere" rights.
Most of the changes in the new deal come with
NBC, who, since 2006, has aired its Sunday Night Football package. NBC
will continue to air SNF, but adds the annual Thanksgiving primetime
game starting in 2012 (up until now, that game has aired on NFL Network),
giving the network a total of 19 games per year; 17 Sundays and 2 Thursdays
(NBC also airs the NFL kick-off game).
In 2014, when the new deal officially kicks in,
NBC will also see a change in its playoff coverage, which had traditionally
been the two Wildcard round games on the first Saturday of the postseason. The
network is trading in one of those Wildcard games for the more marquee games in
the following weekend's Divisional round (the top two teams in each conference
get a bye to this round).
Flex scheduling -- which allows for the league
to move games that were originally on NBC's SNF football schedule and
replace it with a more-desirable matchup -- will also be in effect earlier in
the season; the current agreement allows for flex scheduling to being with Week
10. As part of the new flex scheduling, games will now be allowed to switch
from Fox to CBS, and vice-versa, giving CBS the chance to air NFC-only games
and Fox, AFC-only games.
Also beginning in 2014, NBC will air a
Sunday-morning NFL pregame show on Versus (which will be rebranded as NBC
Sports Network Jan. 2, 2012).
"These agreements underscore the NFL's unique
commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has," NFL Commissioner
Roger Goodell said. "The agreements would not have been possible without
our new 10-year labor agreement and the players deserve great credit.
Long-term labor peace is allowing the NFL to continue to grow and the
biggest beneficiaries are the players and fans."
"Sunday Night Football on NBC is the
most-watched program on primetime television, and we're excited to continue our
long-term partnership with the NFL," said Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC
Sports Group. "The new primetime Thanksgiving game starting in 2012, the
upgraded playoff package and the three Super Bowls are all major enhancements
to our new agreement."
Leslie Moonves, president and CEO, CBS Corp.,
added: "No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does. The
League has proven time and again that it understands the importance of a
healthy broadcast partner, and this historic new agreement strengthens that
partnership. In addition, the deal continues CBS' ability to be profitable with
the NFL throughout the coming decade and beyond."
"The National Football League is the
greatest television property in the world and we are thrilled that it remains
the cornerstone of Fox Sports and the Fox Network well into the next
decade," said David Hill, chairman, Fox Sports Media Group.
The league agreed to a new deal with ESPN to
continue carrying its Monday Night Football slate earlier this year.