It appears that Disney and the NFL are close to finalizing a deal over broadcasting rights as their previous contract draws to an end. Late last week it was reported that Disney would be paying an increase of 30% annually for the right to broadcast NFL games, namely Monday Night Football.
According to sources, the new deal would continue to air Monday Night Football on the Disney-owned ESPN. This deal would also include the right to rebroadcast highlights from all NFL games on ESPN. This right is at the core of ESPN’s success, imagine an ESPN without the ability to rerun highlights on their wildly successful Sports Center.
Disney also wants ABC to be added back to the rotating list of networks that carry the Super Bowl every year. Currently, the networks that air the big game are NBC, CBS, and FOX, who rotate each year. ABC has been out of this rotation since 2006.
Sources close to the deal revealed that Disney would pay 30% more compared to their previous NFL deal, and the contract would last 10 years. Putting the price tag at around $2.6 billion annually, compared to the previous $2 billion. NBC, CBS, and FOX all saw 100% increases in the cost of their package with NFL, moving them all from $1 billion annually, to $2 billion. Disney always paid more due to the popularity of Monday Night Football and the exclusive right to rebroadcast highlights.
Multiple sources informed Sports Business Journal of the agreed upon terms and reiterated that the major negotiating terms have been settled and the remaining terms are minor details that will be wrapped up this week. All four networks plan to announce their upcoming deals in the next week or two.
When reached for comment, the NFL’s public relations team stated that the reporting was incorrect and that they do not negotiate in the media. If you follow these types of negotiations you know that this weak statement is code for “we are not happy that someone at Disney is leaking, the deal is basically done, stop talking to the press Disney, but yeah, the story is basically right.” While a small detail here or there may differ from the final terms, it appears that Disney’s ABC and ESPN will continue to broadcast Monday Night Football, they will continue to have access to highlights, and they will be added to the Super Bowl rotation, all for the small increase of 30%.
It is unclear what the final deal will say regarding streaming rights on ESPN+, once the details are fully announced, we will cover that in more detail.