“Monday Night Football” got so expensive that Disney moved it from ABC to ESPN to justify the cost with cable/satellite fees. Now the New York Post reports that the NFL is also seeking much more cash from NBC for “Sunday Night Football,” the ratings leader for the #4 network.
The Post’s sources say NBC wants to get a deal done soon, even though its current NFL contract doesn’t expire until 2013. Why the rush? NBC needs to negotiate retransmission consent agreements with satellite and cable operators and will need more retrans cash if it has to pay more for Sunday Night Football. The report says NBCUniveral parent Comcast wants to be able to use NFL football to give a boost to NBCU’s Versus network, which is relaunching next month as NBC Sports.
NBC reportedly pays around $600 million per year under its current NFL contract. Disney’s ESPN recently agreed to pay $15 billion over eight years for its NFL package, which works out to nearly $1.9 billion per year.
After getting a 70% increase from ESPN, the NFL is believed to be seeking a considerable increase in the NBC negotiations.
RBR-TVBR observation: Can NBC afford to keep “Sunday Night Football” on broadcast television? On the other hand, can it afford not to? What else does the Peacock Network have in primetime that’s really top-tier in the ratings?