The best thing going, ratings-wise, on network television will stay in place for the next decade.
The National Football League has cut new deals with broadcast partners CBS, FOX and NBC to keep pro football on their respective networks through the 2022 season. Counting previously closed deals with ESPN and DirecTV, the new rights package is worth a reported $7 billion (yes, with a “B”) over the life of the deal.
The broadcast networks’ current deals were set to expire after the 2013 season.
Things will stay pretty much the same with the broadcast networks’ coverage of the league: CBS will still carry primarily AFC games, FOX will have the NFC and NBC will keep its prime-time “Sunday Night Football” franchise. The deal also allows the NFL Network to expand its slate of Thursday night games starting next season, and NBC will carry a prime-time Thanksgiving game beginning in 2012.
CBS, NBC and FOX will each air three Super Bowls over the life of the new deal, which roughly coincides with the 10-year labor agreement owners and players agreed to after a lockout in the spring and summer.
NFL games have drawn some of the highest ratings on television in recent years. In the current season, 23 of the 25 most-watched shows (for all parts of the day) have been NFL games.