Supreme Court throws out NFL-DirecTV appeal, presidential campaigns spend big on football, Disney takes aim for Sunday night football, and advertiser dollars slowly return to TV.
Sunday Ticket Lawsuit
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Supreme Court has declined to review an appeal by the NFL and DirecTV to have an antitrust case regarding their Sunday Ticket package thrown out. Sunday Ticket — available only through DirecTV — is the sole option to watch all the NFL Sunday games outside of the few free over-the-air broadcasts each week.
Subscribers of the service can now move forward with a lawsuit that alleges consumers could have access to more NFL broadcasts at a lower cost without the exclusive partnership. The NFL alleges the deal has been beneficial to viewers as it allows for increased broadcasts.
A judge threw out the case in 2017, but it was revived last year by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The DirecTV partnership is set to expire after the 2022 regular season.
Sunday Ticket Details:
DirecTV and NFL have been exclusive partners since 1994.
There are approximately 2 million Sunday Ticket subscribers.
DirecTV pays an average annual rights fee of $1.5 billion.
Football Ad Spending
Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn
Football has been both Joe Biden and President Donald Trump’s go-to sport for ad spots. Of presidential local ad buys during sports broadcasts, 84% have been during football games.
Biden’s college football ads have reached more than 26 million viewers, while Trump’s have reached approximately 10 million. The Big Ten’s return created particularly desirable advertising inventory given the key Midwest battleground states conference schools call home.
Ad Spending During Sports Broadcasts:
National — Biden: $19.7 million vs. Trump: $5.2 million
Local — Trump: $9.2 million vs. Biden: $7 million
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Sunday Night’s Future
Marc Piscotty, Special for USA TODAY
Walt Disney Co. is reportedly making a pitch to acquire the NFL’s Sunday night matchup. NBC currently owns the NFL’s Sunday night rights — paying $960 million per year — and will likely vie to keep the marquee slot.
ABC could be the new home for the Sunday night game if Disney can swoop in on NBC’s negotiations. Disney’s ESPN currently spends almost $2 billion per year on the “Monday Night Football” matchup. All of the NFL’s media deals expire after the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Current NFL Media Rights Deals
“Monday Night Football” — $1.90 billion per year, ESPN
AFC Sunday Package — $1.09 billion per year, CBS
NFC Sunday Package — $1.08 billion per year, Fox
“Sunday Night Football” — $960 million per year, NBC
“Thursday Night Football” — $660 million per year, Fox
Ads Creep Back
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Third quarter TV ad spending was down 8% year-over-year, compared to the 31% year-over-year decline in the second quarter when sports shut down due to the pandemic. The rebound was in part because the NBA, NHL and MLB returned to action.
With the Tokyo Olympics next summer and the 2020-21 NBA season looking to start as soon as next month, ad recovery may not be out of reach — especially since sports programs account for more than 20% of TV ad spending in the U.S.
New Advertising Money
Streaming services have tripled their ad spending this year.
DoorDash has bumped up its spending 14%.
Microsoft Office has spent $174 million on TV ads, up from none last year.
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Question Of The Day
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