The NY Post reported that ABC is “kicking around the idea” of making an aggressive push for the NFL broadcast rights currently held by FOX and CBS, deals set to expire at the completion of the ’22 season.
Both packages include the rights to broadcast the Super Bowl on a rotating basis, noteworthy considering last year’s game generated $414 million in ad revenue for NBC.
But, the Sunday afternoon packages aren’t the only ones coming up for renewal. Both FOX’s TNF package and NBC’s SNF package will also expire at the end of the ’22 season; while ESPN’s MNF package expires at the completion of the ’21 season.
ABC didn’t pass on the NFL in 2005 – when the network last carried games – as much as Disney made a larger strategic decision to transfer rights to ESPN; one that lead to a net increase in revenue and gave the company leverage with all of the other ESPN networks.
Times have changed though. ABC now sits a distant 3rd in ratings amongst the Big 4 networks – behind NBC and CBS – and company needs to grow its viewership base.
NFL broadcast rights have long been considered “either the top reason, or one of them, for an overall broadcast network’s success.”
Should ABC rejoin the mix in pursuit of NFL television rights it would be a boon to the league.
With more players at the table than there are rights packages to be sold, rights are certain to increase.
The best content – in particular sports content – is simply more valuable now than it’s ever been.
It’s just harder to amalgamate audience around any one property and the more fragmentation you have, the more having big properties like the NFL really matters.”