Last updated: December 22, 2011 - 2:37am
The National Football League is close to inking an eight-year extension of three media-rights deals that should earn it a total of about $3.2 billion a year from its broadcast partners, a 60% increase over its prior contract.
The agreements, which would be struck with News Corp.'s Fox, Comcast Corp.'s NBC and CBS Corp.'s CBS, shows just how valuable NFL rights have become for broadcasters, which view high-profile live sports as the key element to maintaining their value at a time when consumers have an ever-growing number of entertainment options. The deals would last through 2021. The agreements, including deals with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and satellite operate DirecTV Group Inc., are expected to lock in total average annual media fees for the NFL of about $6 billion. The expected fee increases are in the range of the NFL's $15.2 billion deal with ESPN for "Monday Night Football." That agreement, which also spans eight years through 2021, included an average annual rights fee increase of $800 million, bringing ESPN's average payment to the league to $1.9 billion per season. The deal also allows ESPN to show games on certain portable devices.