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

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Alex Sangha, Vinay Giridhar, Jaspal Sangha and Kayden Bhangu (clockwise from top) are involved in making “Emergence: Out of the Shadows,” a documentary movie about being gay or lesbian in the South Asian community of Metro Vancouver. (Submitted photo)
Sher Vancouver, Delta School District receiving $10,000 in anti-racism funding

Provincial grants for 192 projects addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian and anti-Black racism

Surrey city council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey drugstores seeking relaxation of spacing rules ‘a challenge,’ councillor says

‘Obviously we need pharmacies but it seems to me that we are getting an awful lot of applications,’ Brenda Locke says

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

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

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

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

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.

Most Read