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pf9

Changes in NFL TV rights come 2023

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Posted (edited)

The NFL begins its next TV contracts in 3 years. Here are the changes I am proposing:

CBS
Retains its package of mostly AFC road games on Sunday afternoons (and one on Thanksgiving afternoon) and some of the AFC playoffs, but now additional CBS games can be distributed to local markets via CBS Sports Network (this is called a "reverse mirror").

If NFL expands playoffs to 16 teams down the road, the "reverse mirror" would be used to distribute 2 simultaneous first-round playoff games nationally with local CBS stations airing the game they are most interested in (including the home markets of the participating teams), and the other game airing on CBSSN.

Fox
Retains its package of mostly NFC road games on Sunday afternoons (and one on Thanksgiving afternoon). The "reverse mirror" described above would also apply to Fox games, using Fox Sports 1 as the cable partner, including when 2 first-round playoff games are being played simultaneously.

CBS and Fox would have their playoff "reverse mirrors" in the early afternoon slot, alternating which days they have them (Saturday or Sunday) every year.

International Series
International series games would air exclusively on ABC and ESPN. ABC would have the broadcast rights to games played in Europe (right now limited to London) for airing on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM ET leading into the regular Sunday coverage on CBS and Fox. This also avoids a situation where if CBS or Fox aired a London game to lead into their regular games, the ending of the London game overlaps with the start of 1 PM games (like with Redskins-Bengals a few years ago).

ABC also would have the rights to potential games played across the Pacific (including in Australia, China and Japan) where the games would air at 10 PM ET Friday nights, which would be allowable since the games aren't held in the US and thus would not harm high school FB attendance (a 10 PM ET start would be early afternoon Saturday in the host country).

ESPN would have rights to games played in the Americas outside the US as part of their Monday Night Football package, though in some cities games would have to start earlier than 8:15 PM ET because these cities are 1 or 2 hours ahead of NYC.

Thursday Night Football
The NFL should negotiate new carriage contracts for NFL Network that would allow all of the TNF package games to be simulcast nationally on a broadcast network. They way things are now, usually only teams who do good the previous year get to be seen on a Fox-aired TNF game, while teams who don't do good get relegated to an NFLN-exclusive game which I see as punishing these teams for poor performance.

Also, with the new carriage contracts in place, the TNF package would be split between Fox and ABC, with Fox airing Thursday games mostly in the first half of the season, and ABC airing them in the second half. Non-Thursday games later in the season (like Christmas games) would be split between Fox and ABC, but the ultimate goal would be for Fox and ABC to have exactly half of the TNF package including non-Thursday games.

If Christmas Eve falls on a Thursday, ABC would defer the TNF game that week to Christmas night on Friday to serve as lead-out programming for their NBA doubleheader, as well as avoiding Christmas Eve night.

Postseason
Before the current deal ends, I expect that broadcast rights to Super Bowls 55 and 58 be swapped between CBS and NBC, as it is likely that the NCAA March Madness TV contract will be altered to give TBS the Final Four in odd years and CBS in even years, so that CBS can still have a Super Bowl and the Final Four in the same calendar year.

CBS will always have rights to half of the AFC playoff games in the first two rounds and the AFC title game, and Fox likewise for the NFC. As mentioned above, in the first round after a potential expansion to a 16-team playoff, the early afternoon slots would be "reverse mirror" slots in which CBS and Fox use their partner cable sports networks to distribute the first-round playoff game that is not airing locally on the broadcast station. The networks would alternate the early and late afternoon slots on Saturday and Sunday of the first round every year, as well as the early and late slots on Divisional Sunday and Conference Championship Sunday.

Currently, the first round falls during the same weekend as NBC's coverage of the Golden Globes. As it is likely the NFL will go to a 17-game, 19-week regular season, this would no longer be the case for 2021 and beyond. ABC (now televising their playoff games by themselves) and NBC would alternate both timeslots on Divisional Saturday; because of the desire to see each conference have 2 games on each day in the first round, ABC would have the Saturday night slot in the first round every year, and NBC the Sunday night slot. In years where ABC has rights to half of the first two rounds of the AFC playoffs, NBC will have NFC rights, and vice versa, alternating every year.

After Super Bowl 55, I expect the Super Bowl rotation, which now adds ABC, will go like this: NBC, then Fox, then CBS, then ABC. With the change in Final Four rotation, this would allow CBS to have all their Super Bowls in calendar years they have the Final Four, and NBC would have all their Super Bowls in calendar years they have the Winter Olympics.

The Pro Bowl would likewise be exclusive to ABC.

Sunday Ticket
I am expecting that laws will change that will force the NFL to end its exclusive relationship with DirecTV for Sunday Ticket, and make the package available to other pay-TV providers, including OTT services like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV which I expect will offer other out-of-market sports packages in the future too.

Edited by pf9

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Normally, both Conference Championship games are played on Sunday. However, if the host teams are either both the Giants and Jets, or both the Chargers and Rams, one game would have to be played on Saturday, because these pairs of same-market teams play their home games in the same stadium.

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More Thursday Night Football Details

The TNF package is 18 games. Fox and ABC would each get 9, 8 on Thursdays and 1 on Saturday night during Weeks 17 and 18. Fox would get the first 8 Thursday nights after the kickoff game, and ABC would get the next 8 non-Thanksgiving Thursday nights. As I am also proposing ABC get the rights to the CFP and NY6 starting 2026, the week 17 and 18 Saturday night assignments would, starting in 2026, be determined based on when ABC needs the last Saturday in December for the CFP, in years the semifinals are not the Rose and Sugar Bowls (which are always played New Years Day, regardless of being a semifinal or not).

There would continue not to be TNF package games during the final week of the season, now week 19, as all games that week are played on Sundays.

Furthermore, the new TV contracts would be structured so that Saturdays in weeks 17 and 18 are the only Saturdays exclusive to the TNF package, as these games would be played no earlier than December 25 in a given year, allowing the move of an NBC or ESPN game to Saturday night in years December 24 is Sunday and Monday, respectively.

In years where Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, that would fall during week 16, where there would now only be a Thursday game in the TNF package that week. The regular Sunday afternoon games are moved to Christmas Eve Saturday as is usually the case, and one game, a Sunday Night game on NBC, is played on Christmas Day.

In years where Christmas Eve falls on a Thursday, New Year's Eve is also on a Thursday. The TNF game that would air on ABC that night is instead deferred to the following Saturday night, with Fox airing a late-afternoon game, so that ABC can air special New Years Eve programming.

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22 hours ago, pf9 said:

I am expecting that laws will change that will force the NFL to end its exclusive relationship with DirecTV for Sunday Ticket, and make the package available to other pay-TV providers, including OTT services like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV which I expect will offer other out-of-market sports packages in the future too.

What sort of changes to what sort of laws are you expecting? 

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23 hours ago, pf9 said:

Normally, both Conference Championship games are played on Sunday. However, if the host teams are either both the Giants and Jets, or both the Chargers and Rams, one game would have to be played on Saturday, because these pairs of same-market teams play their home games in the same stadium.

alternately imagine doing a carnival of football huge day with the entire city getting behind it and the two games on one day

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Logistics wouldn't allow it.

Back in 1985, when there was only one wild card game in each conference, both the Giants and Jets needed Giants Stadium for hosting their wild card games. Normally both wild card games would have been played on Sunday. But because both games were in the same venue, they had to be played on separate days.

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On 3/16/2020 at 7:50 PM, pf9 said:

Normally, both Conference Championship games are played on Sunday. However, if the host teams are either both the Giants and Jets, or both the Chargers and Rams, one game would have to be played on Saturday, because these pairs of same-market teams play their home games in the same stadium.

Good thing neither of these will ever happen. Especially the first one.

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11 hours ago, Shady Slim said:

alternately imagine doing a carnival of football huge day with the entire city getting behind it and the two games on one day

1PM game and an 8:30 game

 

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Posted (edited)

In some years, a Saturday night game in Week 17 will go up against the College Football Playoff or a non-semifinal Sugar Bowl. Thus, Week 17 games on Saturday night would air on Fox.

Edited by pf9

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On 3/17/2020 at 5:44 PM, Heinz D. said:
On 3/16/2020 at 7:21 PM, pf9 said:

I am expecting that laws will change that will force the NFL to end its exclusive relationship with DirecTV for Sunday Ticket, and make the package available to other pay-TV providers, including OTT services like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV which I expect will offer other out-of-market sports packages in the future too.

What sort of changes to what sort of laws are you expecting?

https://www.sporttechie.com/nfl-directtv-scotus-appeal-sunday-ticket-lawsuit

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