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The NFL is asking all four of its network partners for a 100 percent increase in television rights fees, but Disney is pushing back, citing the steep price it already pays for Monday Night Football, per a report from CNBC. Disney owns ESPN.
Along with ESPN, NFL games are carried by CBS, NBC and FOX. The league is hoping to get the deals completed by March 17, when its new calendar year begins.
“We’re looking at the long-term trends of sports viewership,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on an earnings conference call Feb. 11, per CNBC. “We’ve had a long relationship with the NFL. If there’s a deal that will be accretive to shareholder value, we will certainly entertain that and look at that. But our first filter will be to say whether it makes sense for shareholder value going forward.”
Disney agreed to pay $1.9 billion a year for the right to broadcast Monday Night Football, back in 2011. But that decade-long deal is set to expire at the end of next season, CNBC reported. The current $1.9 billion figure was an increase from the previous annual price of $1.1 billion..
NBC pays $960 million for the rights to Sunday Night Football — or less than the annual costs for both FOX ($1.1 billion) and CBS ($1 billion), per CNBC.
Along with Monday Night Football, the Disney/ESPN deal also includes the right to show an endless stream of highlights on SportsCenter and other network programming.
Disney is asking for Monday night doubleheaders, and would like ABC to join the other three networks to become part of the regular rotation to broadcast the Super Bowl, according to the report.
“Disney also wants flexibility in terms of streaming rights as the company considers selling ESPN as a direct-to-consumer product,” CNBC reported. “The NFL plans to include streaming rights as part of each network package.”
The NFL also intends to add an extra week of regular season play, bringing the total number to 18. That would mean an extra game for each of its broadcast partners.