Thursday December 7, 2023

Disney Is The Big Winner of NFL’s TV Deals

Disney, J. Curry-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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The NFL’s new $113 billion, 11-year media rights deals are a huge score for the Walt Disney Company.

Since its founding in 1979, ESPN has dreamed of landing the Super Bowl. Under a new 10-year agreement from 2023 to 2032, the Disney-owned cable network will retain “Monday Night Football” while producing two Super Bowls for sister network ABC after the 2026 and 2030 seasons. 

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro emphasized the growing alliance between Disney and the NFL: “The league has been clear that a priority of theirs is, of course, reach, and through the breadth of our programming and platforms we offer at the Walt Disney Company, we will certainly deliver.”

Disney also scored flexible scheduling for MNF and ESPN will be able to swap better games during Weeks 12-17. Previously, only NBC boasted flex scheduling for “Sunday Night Football.” 

Disney’s new deal enables it to simulcast all ESPN/ABC games on ESPN+, and the company has had “exploratory conversations” about acquiring the “Sunday Ticket” package of games on DirecTV, added Pitaro.

NFL Chief Operating Officer Hans Schroeder noted, “I’m not sure there’s anybody in the media landscape in this country today that is growing, innovating, and evolving their approach and their business in the way that Disney is.”

When ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen asked NFL Commissioner Peter Rozelle about a Super Bowl in 1979, Rozelle told him, “Not today Bill, but someday.”

Yesterday, Rasmussen celebrated on Twitter: “Someday has arrived – the Super Bowl on ESPN!!!!”

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