The National Football League has agreed to nine-year extensions of its Sunday broadcast television packages with CBS, FOX and NBC, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today. The nine-year terms are the longest for NFL television agreements with over-the-air broadcast partners, surpassing the eight-year deals signed with CBS, FOX and ABC from 1998-2005. The extensions ensure that NFL games will be broadcast on free, over-the-air television through the 2022 season.
“These agreements underscore the NFL’s unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has,” Commissioner 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.”
CBS will televise the AFC package and FOX will continue with its NFC package of Sunday games. NBC will continue to carry the Sunday Night Football package of primetime games as well as the annual Thursday night NFL Season Kickoff game to open the season. Additionally, NBC will add the annual Thanksgiving primetime game starting in 2012.
The agreements also enable the NFL to expand its Thursday night package of games on NFL Network beginning next year. The number of additional Thursday night games has not been determined.
The NFL is the only sports league that delivers all of its games – regular-season and playoffs – on free, over-the-air television. (ESPN’s Monday night and NFL Network’s Thursday night cable games are required by contract to be carried on over-the-air, broadcast stations in the cities of the participating teams, subject to local blackout rules).
Flexible scheduling – which ensures quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots and gives teams a chance to play their way onto primetime on NBC and into the late-afternoon 4:15 PM ET time slot on CBS and FOX – remains a viewer-friendly element of the network broadcast agreements. It will be expanded in 2014, including the ability to move games between CBS and FOX to bring regional games to wider audiences. Further details on enhanced flexible scheduling will be developed with the networks.
CBS, FOX and NBC will each televise three Super Bowls during the term of the agreements, continuing the current rotation. NBC will carry Super Bowl XLIX (49) in Glendale, Arizona in 2015, Super Bowl LII (52) in 2018 and Super Bowl LV (55) in 2021. CBS will broadcast Super Bowl L (50) in 2016, Super Bowl LIII (53) in 2019 and Super Bowl LVI (56) in 2022. FOX will televise Super Bowl LI (51) in 2017, Super Bowl LIV (54) in 2020 and Super Bowl LVII (57) in 2023.
Earlier this season, the NFL and ESPN reached an eight-year extension to keep Monday Night Football on ESPN through the 2021 season.
NFL games are 23 of the 25 most-watched programs among all television shows this fall and draw more than twice as many average viewers as broadcast primetime shows.