Next round of TV deals “likely to maintain status quo”

The NFL’s media deals expire soon, and the pandemic has thrown a wrench in what had seemed to be momentum toward a new wave of contracts. Quietly, the momentum has continued.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that the league met with representatives of all major networks in early June, and that the next round of TV deals is “likely to maintain the status quo.”

Currently, FOX has Thursday Night Football and one of the Sunday afternoon packages. CBS has the other Sunday afternoon arrangement. NBC televises Sunday Night Football, and ESPN has Monday Night Football.

Ourand reports that ESPN is the “wild card,” and that it has told the league it wants to upgrade its package. Before the pandemic, there had been talk of a Monday Night Football sliding back to ABC (ESPN’s sister company under the Disney umbrella) and ESPN picking up Thursday Night Football. Some also believed ESPN+ could contend for the NFL Sunday Ticket streaming rights.

Ourand adds that the network executives who met with the league in early June believed that new deals could be in place before Labor Day, and that contracts could be signed before the end of the year. Although the timeline, per Ourand, appears optimistic, the belief persists that the deals will be finalized.

The Monday night package expires after 2021, and the rest of the deals run through 2022.