TVBizwire

Huge NFL Deal for ESPN THR

ESPN and the National Football League have agreed to a deal that will keep “Monday Night Football” telecasts on ESPN through the 2021 NFL season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The eight-year deal includes rights to 17 “MNF” games each season, along with the Pro Bowl and NFL draft, with 3D rights and Spanish-language rights also included.

Separate reports valued the deal at about $15.2 billion, or $1.9 billion a year.

THR reports: “Additionally, the deal includes enhanced international, digital and studio rights that let ESPN distribute the games in Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Israel and Europe. Digital rights include simulcast of games and related programming on tablet devices via the WatchESPN App.”

Studio programming will be expanded, with ESPN expected to carry more than 500 hours of new NFL content each year. Starting this week, the cable net expands its “Sunday NFL Countdown” to three hours and “NFL Live” to one hour.

New programs are also in the works, including “NFL Kickoff” on Friday nights and “NFL 32,” an analysis show focusing on the 32 NFL teams.

In a statement, ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said: "Today, we’ve secured cable’s most valuable television franchise, along with an enhanced international package of year-round multimedia rights. It will help grow our business well into the next decade. No one has the breadth of worldwide media assets or the ability to monetize a property the way ESPN can, particularly with ‘Monday Night Football’ and our complete NFL coverage."