Report: ESPN trying to buy ‘Sunday Night Football’ rights away from NBC
“Sunday Night Football” could have a new television home if ESPN gets its way.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN and Disney are prepared to pay at least $1 billion to secure the rights to the NFL’s weekly Sunday night game. The network would likely place that game on ABC. The rights are currently held by NBC, which will compete to keep them.
There are multiple reasons ESPN wants to add a second NFL package in addition to “Monday Night Football.” The network wants a spot in the Super Bowl rotation, which it does not have currently. In addition, Disney executives have argued to the NFL that they pay $2 billion per year for the inferior Monday night schedule and no Super Bowl, while NBC’s Sunday night package gets them a Super Bowl broadcast and a better and more flexible schedule for just $950 million. It is important to note, however, that ESPN’s deal grants them a near-monopoly on NFL highlights.
If NBC were to lose the Sunday night game, they could still bid on Monday or Thursday games.
The current “Monday Night Football” deal runs through 2021, while the league’s other TV packages expire after the 2022 season. Renegotiations are already underway, and it looks like the cost for these packages is primed to go way up.