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The Sports Business Journal reported on Friday that Disney and the NFL have reached a broad agreement on a new media rights deal that will see ESPN renew “Monday Night Football” and ABC return to the Super Bowl rotation for the first time since 2006. It's still not official, as contracts still have to be signed, but a deal is expected to be reached soon. Media executives think it may even come this week.
The NFL has already reached broad agreements with CBS, Fox and NBC, and Disney is just the last big piece to the puzzle.
According to SBJ, Disney is expected to pay around $2.6 billion a year to the NFL for it's new deal, which is an increase of up to 30% from its current deal, which based on an average of $2 billion per year.
Disney will retain the highly coveted highlight rights from the NFL, which provide year-round programming for ESPN’s studio shows. An undetermined number of regular-season games will be simulcast on ABC, which will produce a Super Bowl for the first time since 2006. The last Super Bowl on ABC just happened to be Super Bowl XL when the Steelers beat the Seahawks, 21-10.
Disney will pay more than other media companies for its “MNF” package, which is a good sign for the 2021 salary cap number that hasn't been announced by the league yet. A few weeks ago, the league announced that the cap floor will be $180 million this year, which is $5 million up from where it was at previously.
The NFL lost $4 billon in revenue in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was estimated by Marc Ganis, co-founder of Chicago-based consulting group Sportscorp and a confidant of many NFL owners. The biggest loss in revenue for teams was due to having a limited amount of fans in the stands at games. Some teams didn't have any fans at stadiums last year because of the virus.
Along with CBS, FOX and NBC expected to extend their deals with the NFL, Amazon is the front-runner to win the rights for Thursday night games, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio also states that the league has been aiming to finalize all of the pacts ahead of setting the salary cap. The expected massive deal with Disney, along with the tentative agreements the NFL has with the other networks is good news for this year's salary cap and the future.
Many expected the cap figure to be more dire with the lost revenue from not having stadiums packed this past year, but with all things considered and the TV deals kicking through soon, it doesn't look all that bad.