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NFL wants TV partners to double their current contracts, but not all are in agreement

The NFL is hoping their new TV contracts will help the bottom line finances for 2021, but those deals aren’t done yet.

NFL: DEC 21 Steelers at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The National Football League is in a bad spot financially. After completing the 2020 season with hardly, or no, fans in the seats, the league is looking at a loss of revenue heading into 2021. The result of this could mean the league’s salary cap dropping for the first time in a long time, but the league is holding out hope the new TV contracts they are hoping to sign will not just negate the revenue lost, but mean the salary cap might not dip as much, or at all.

It is now being reported the league is asking their TV partners, FOX, CBS, NBC and ESPN (Disney) to double their current deals. Before fans suggest the NFL is being money hungry, know the expectation is for these deals to last 10 years.

With the NFL remaining as popular as ever, and with legalized gambling involved you can expect viewership to reach new levels throughout the duration of the expected deal. In fact, some might suggest the deal which is signed now much be viewed as a great deal for the TV companies if these trends continue.

But not every TV affiliate is on board with what the NFL is requesting.

This per Alex Sherman of CNBC:

The NFL is in active discussions on renewal rates with all four of its existing network partners — NBC, CBS, Fox, and Disney-owned ESPN, according to people familiar with the matter. The NFL is hoping to get its primary package renewals completed by March 17, before the start of the new NFL league year, CNBC reported earlier this month.

NBC, CBS and Fox are likely to accept increases closer to 100% than Disney, which is currently paying much more than the three broadcast networks for its Monday Night Football package, said the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private.

Disney agreed to pay $1.9 billion annually for Monday Night Football in 2011 — a deal that runs through 2021. That dwarfed the average $1.1 billion annual cost for Fox, $1 billion annual price tag for CBS and $960 million for NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Disney has already rejected paying anywhere close to $3.8 billion per year for its new deal, said two of the people. Disney CEO Bob Chapek alluded to pushing back on the NFL’s asking price during his company’s earnings conference call last week.

The deal with Disney/ESPN/ABC expires at the end of 2021, but the contracts with the other networks doesn’t expire until 2022. The league wants to get everything locked up before the new league year begins on March 17th, which means the clock is ticking.

This can severely impact the game and the 2021 salary cap, so stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.