Sports | November 3, 2020 10:14 am

Report: ESPN and NBC Waging Billion-Dollar Battle for “Sunday Night Football”

The NFL is seeking to reach rights deals with broadcast partners by the end of the year

Report: ESPN and NBC Waging Billion-Dollar Battle for "Sunday Night Football"
A view of NBC's "Sunday Night Football" logo.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the NFL seeking to reach new rights deals with potential TV broadcast partners by the end of the year, NBC and ESPN, which is owned by Walt Disney/ABC, are bidding billions for Sunday Night Football, according to The New York Post.

Currently, NBC pays $950 million for Sunday Night Football and is able to flex games in and out of the primetime spot as the season progresses, giving the network the ability to maximize its potential audience by broadcasting the best matchups. As part of its deal, NBC also gets the Super Bowl on a rotating basis and the rights to two playoff games.

On the other hand, ESPN spends $2 billion per year for Monday Night Football and does not have the ability to flex games or broadcast the Super Bowl. The network also only gets a single playoff game.

Although ESPN’s deal seems vastly inferior, it does allow the network to show highlights constantly, a right NBC and fellow NFL broadcast partners Fox and CBS don’t have.

That is the backdrop for the negotiations that are currently going on for SNF, a property ESPN is trying to pry away from NBC. The Worldwide Leader’s deal for Monday Night Football is done following next season, while the contracts NBC, CBS and Fox have with the NFL will be completed following the 2022-23 Super Bowl.

“If Disney were able to swipe Sunday Night Football from NBC, it would likely place it on ABC,” according to The Post. “In such a scenario, NBC would still be in play for Monday or Thursday night action. Both Disney and NBC could try for Fox and CBS’ Sunday afternoon packages.”

In addition to traditional broadcasters, digital providers like Amazon and Apple may enter into the bidding at some point. Stay tuned.

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