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#pounditMonday, September 20, 2021

Report: ESPN pushing back against NFL TV rights asking price

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The NFL is hoping to wrap up negotiations for its television rights renewals in the coming weeks, but one of its partners is holding out and refusing to pay what the league wants.

The NFL has asked TV partners for double the price of what they are paying for current deals in this round of negotiations, according to Alex Sherman of CNBC. NBC, CBS, and FOX are willing to approach that asking price, but Disney has pushed back on it.

Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC, currently has the rights to Monday Night Football, as well as highlights packages, branded shows, and streaming rights. Disney also wants to join the Super Bowl rotation and get Monday night doubleheaders, which prompted the NFL to make the same request of them as they did of their other broadcast partners. Disney balked because it is already paying more than the other three networks despite airing fewer live games.

ESPN has been trying to make big moves and expand its live broadcast presence in the NFL. That is going to lead the NFL to ask for more money, and unless the league blinks, Disney probably can’t have it both ways.

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