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NFL close to US$100 billion broadcast deal

The NFL’s next domestic rights deal could exceed US$100 billion, cementing the league’s position as the most lucrative in all of sports.

According to the New York Post, the NFL is in the process of discussing TV rights deals with its partners, with the next set of agreements potentially lasting 10 years.

While this would be a pandemic-defying uptick in value, the paper reports that this would not see a shakeup in rights holders. It expects that CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN/ABC will retain their existing allocation of matches, while Amazon has emerged as a front-runner for the league’s Thursday night fixtures and the Disney-owned ESPN/ABC is likely to be added to the Super Bowl rotation.

Thursday Night Football and Sunday NFL Ticket are the only areas which are likely to see digital disruption. The Thursday night package is currently held by Fox, and it along with CBS and NBC have reportedly informed the NFL that they do not want the set of games. The Sunday night matches are similarly not expected to remain on DirecTV, with Amazon, ESPN+ and Apple TV+ linked.

Should the NFL secure the numbers talked about by the New York Post, it would make domestically what it currently makes overall. Per season, the likes of ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC and DirecTV pay US$8 billion for the league, while international revenues top that up to US$10 billion a year.

The NFL does not announce a rights tender in the same way the European leagues do, with a number of its deals – such as ESPN’s package of Monday night matches – expiring at different points. Regardless, the outlet says that the NFL expects to have its house in order and contracts signed in early 2021.