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NFL Expected To Land Huge Thursday Night Deal

Jason Barrett

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One of the last big sports rights opportunities for several years is about to become available to TV networks. The NFL’s Thursday Night Football — which for the past two seasons has aired on CBS via one-year deals — is generating intense interest as the league is likely to extend the length of the package significantly to bring it in line with other TV rights pacts, most of which run through the 2022 season.

Analysts predict a long-term Thursday Night Football arrangement could go for $600 million annually and potentially much higher when deal making begins in earnest in January.

CBS, Fox, NBC and Turner have signaled interest in the Thursday package. As the incumbent, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus would seem to have an advantage. (The net paid $275 million for the eight-game Thursday package last season and re-upped this season for about $300 million.)

But the games are said to be a top priority for NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. Certainly, NBC Sports under Mark Lazarus has been aggressive in acquiring and keeping live contests. Last year, the company agreed to pay $7.75 billion for six Olympics, locking up the Games through 2032. Turner Sports also has indicated a strong desire for Thursday Night Football.

Last year, TNF averaged a little more than 12 million viewers a game on CBS and NFL Network, where they are simulcast. This season, the Sept. 17 TNF opener set a record for the franchise, with more than 21 million viewers watching the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. But critics say the Thursday games often feature inferior matchups, and the fluctuating ratings reflect those hit-and-miss contests.

Plus, the Thursday package may not be the only rights deal for the NFL: The league also might look to package global digital rights for its international series. The NFL pulled in $20 million from Yahoo for the rights to the Oct. 25 Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game from London’s Wembley Stadium. Yahoo’s first free global live stream of an NFL game notched 15.2 million unique viewers. The league may expand its international series from three games next season, possibly adding a fourth game in Mexico. It is expected to announce its 2016 international series Nov. 25.

Credit to the Hollywood Reporter who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Fox Charging $250,000 For Field of Dreams Game Ads

The revelation from Ourand comes a day after Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the network was planning “record pricing” for its upcoming Super Bowl in February of 2023.

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For the second consecutive year, Major League Baseball is playing a regular season game at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa. And the 2022 edition has proved to be a lucrative one for Fox.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports Fox has secured more revenue for this year’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds than any other regular season game on the network. Ourand also revealed commercials sold for $250,000 each.

The revelation from Ourand comes a day after Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the network was planning “record pricing” for its upcoming Super Bowl in February of 2023. NBC sold commercials for $7 million during Super Bowl LVI.

Also, per a report from the Des Moines Register, the game will not be held in 2023, as the site develops a complex for youth baseball and softball fields. Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas is part of the ownership group of the site and said “It’s a lot going on. They don’t want to come back if the stadium’s not prepared.”

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Sports TV News

Disney CEO Bob Chapek: ESPN Viewers Under 30 ‘Absolutely Require’ Betting Content

“Our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of (sports betting) utility,” Chapek said. 

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Disney CEO Bob Chapek alluded to an upcoming partnership with a sportsbook during a second-quarter earnings call.

“Our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of (sports betting) utility,” Chapek said. 

Disney reported a revenue increase of 26% year-over-year, bringing in $21.5 billion in the quarter. ESPN+ now features 22.8 million subscribers, while Disney+ is at 152.1 million. Hulu, which Disney owns 67% of, now has 46.2 million subscribers.

Also during the call, Chapek discussed what a direct-to-consumer future looks like for ESPN, saying “we’ve negotiated flexibility into our new rights agreements”.

ESPN has continued to invest in the sports betting space, offering shows like Daily Wager, while also announcing the addition of sports betting expert Liz Loza earlier this week.

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Sports TV News

FOX Planning ‘Record Pricing’ for Super Bowl LVII Ads

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Super Bowl 57

FOX shared some lucrative news with investors on its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. The network said sales for the NFL season are in a very short word: up.

FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said “We sold more NFL Sunday advertising in the current upfront market than we did across Sunday and Thursday combined in the prior year’s market.”

He also went on to note that didn’t include commitments made for the network’s presentation of Super Bowl 57 in February.

“This excludes advertising commitments for the upcoming Super Bowl, where we are pacing well ahead of schedule and seeing very robust demand and record pricing levels.”

FOX began selling Super Bowl 57 ads last summer.

Murdoch didn’t share specific numbers regarding Super Bowl sales but in comparison, NBCUniversal sold 3-second spots for upwards of $7 million this last February.

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl, and we’re well ahead of plan in terms of selling our Super Bowl positions.”

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