CBS, FOX remain primary Sunday networks
The NFL has announced their new television deal that runs through the 2033 season. The deal, primarily leave the games where we all know them – CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN – begins in 2023 and will provide the league with $110 billion in revenue over 11 seasons. The deal is worth approximately twice the previous contract.
The majority of the deal will not cause a change for the fans. Sunday afternoon games will still be split, with CBS getting the majority of the Miami Dolphins’ games as well as the rest of the AFC games (based on the visiting team) and the NFC games airing on FOX broadcasts. The Sunday Night Football contest will remain with NBC while the Monday Night Football game will be on ESPN. Each broadcast company will also be allowed to stream their broadcast on their respective digital platform. The biggest change will be with Thursday Night Football which will exclusively be available streaming on Amazon Prime. The league will still allow all games to be aired on network television in local markets.
The NFL Sunday Ticket package, which has been exclusively the domain of DirecTV since its inception in 1994, has not been locked in past the end of the current deal after 2023. Craig Carton from WFAN in New York has reported the Sunday Ticket package will move to a streaming package on ESPN+, but ESPN’s president Jimmy Pitaro has denied that report, indicating the company had only had “exploratory conversations” about the package, according to Washington Post reporter Ben Strauss.
The Super Bowl will be split between CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN/ABC. Starting in 2023, the games will rotate between the four networks, with CBS carrying the 2023 game, FOX the 2024, NBC the 2025, and ESPN/ABC in 2026. The rotation repeats for 2027 through 2030, then again through CBS, FOX, and NBC for 2031 through 2033.
The league will also allow for flex scheduling, already in place for Sunday Night Football games, to occur for Monday Night Football contests. This should allow the league to move important late-season games into prime time slots, though they are going to have to announce the flex early enough for teams to adjust travel plans as games change days.
The new $11 billion per season contract will help the league expand the salary cap again. This year, the cap fell from $198.2 million to $182.5 million due to lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic limits on fan attendance at games. The cap is based on the previous season’s revenue, so the new television contract will factor into the 2024 cap. The NFL’s salary cap had increased by at least $10 million every year since 2014 before this year’s constriction. The new television contract should help get back to that rate of expansion.