ESPN Extend NFL Media Rights Agreement to Eight Years

September 8, 2011

ESPN and the NFL have signed a multi-billion dollar eight-year extension to their media rights agreement which is a gigantic 73% increase in the average price of its current deal.

The $1.8 billion per year deal, arthritis which was first reported in January, allergy was announced today. The deal will keep “MNF” on ESPN through its 21 season. It also gives ESPN a number of capabilities when it comes to its digital rights that will allow the network to stream live games via broadband and tablets, ask as part of the cable industry’s “TV Everywhere” initiative.

George Bodenheimer, ABC Sports President, said: “Today, we’ve secured cable’s most valuable television franchise, along with an enhanced international package of year-round multimedia rights. It will help grow our business well into the next decade. No one has the breadth of worldwide media assets or the ability to monetize a property the way ESPN can, particularly with Monday Night Footballand our complete NFL coverage.”

Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, said “We are proud to extend our three-decade partnership with ESPN. We have come a long way together since ESPN first televised the NFL Draft in 1980. With this new agreement we are excited about the opportunity to take the NFL-ESPN partnership to innovative new heights in serving the most passionate fans in sports.”

Also what ESPN is not getting in the deal is significant. ESPN will not get any playoff games as part of the deal, at least not initially. The contract allows for ESPN to carry a Wild Card playoff game at some point, but it is not set in stone. Neither ESPN nor ABC will be part of the Super Bowl rotation. The NFL has never agreed to take any of its playoff games off national broadcast television. 

A key aspect to the deal for ESPN is that it will receive many more highlight rights, which the network will use to launch several new NFL-themed studio shows.