clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The NFL is asking to double its network rights fees because it can

Despite a decline in ratings, the NFL is still the hottest television ticket out there. That’s why the league feels perfectly fine in asking its broadcast partners to double their rights fees.

NFL: Super Bowl LV-Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After I’m done writing this article, I think I’m going to watch a few episodes of Cobra Kai on Netflix. After that, I may catch up on the last two episodes of Magnum P.I. on CBS All-Access. If I don’t do that, I might continue to binge Kevin Hart’s Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET, which is part of my CBS All-Access streaming channel.

What I’m saying is my television viewing habits are all over the place and differ from just about everyone else in America. I basically choose to watch what I want, when I want. I’m sure you’re the same way.

The days of Must See TV are no more. Those days when everyone would gather in front of their television sets on a specific night to watch a particular show Jumped the Shark a long, long time ago.

As for those special televised events such as the Grammys or the Emmys? I can find out who won via Twitter. And when it comes to the news and weather, they have apps for that.

There’s only one thing I gather in front of my television set to watch at the same time each and every week, and that’s the National Football League.

If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’re the same way.

The NFL knows this about you and me. It knows this about America. Maybe that’s why it’s reportedly looking to double its network rights fees in the next round of contract negotiations with broadcast partners Fox, CBS, NBC and Disney (ESPN).

You might think the NFL has some nerve asking the major networks to pay that much more to see a product that saw a seven-percent dip in ratings in 2020, but 15.4 million people still tuned in to watch its product. The bottom line is, even with a decline in ratings, there isn’t a television show or event that can touch the NFL’s ratings (at least on a weekly basis).

If the networks won’t pay for the exposure that the NFL gives sponsors and their own catalog of programming, they’ll likely continue to lose eyeballs to the streaming services.

Can you imagine the NFL streaming exclusively on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime? I’m sure the league would rather not have it come to that—there’s still nothing quite like the reach of the major networks. But the NFL won’t have to worry about that because the networks need football even more than football needs them.

That’s right, it’s kind of like when someone with knowledge of his burn notice asks Michael Westen to perform an unsavory and illegal task. No, he doesn’t want to do it but damn it, it might be his ticket back into the intelligence community after being burned by some shadowy secret agency and/or figure (Burn Notice is currently streaming on Hulu, and now that I think about it, I might watch that later—my friend lets me use her password).

Speaking of unsavory, there’s no doubt the NFL is mainly looking to recoup the financial losses it endured during a 2020 season in which its teams played in front of mostly empty stadiums, but the NFL doesn’t care that you and I know that.

We’re the Michael Westen to their shadowy secret agency and/or figure. In the end, the networks will go along with it. So will we.

The NFL is still the only thing that brings us all together. Maybe not as much as it used to, but way more than the Oscars.