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#pounditFriday, July 19, 2024

Report: NFL in talks to purchase share of ESPN

Roger Goodell at the podium

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks with the media. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is deep in negotiations to pursue a long-standing ambition regarding its media involvement, according to a new report.

ESPN and the NFL are engaged in serious talks over a deal that could see the league purchase a stake in the network, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. The agreement would see ESPN take control of the league-owned NFL Network, with the NFL receiving equity in ESPN in return.

Negotiations are ongoing and may still take months to complete. However, talks are serious enough that league owners and the NFLPA have both been notified of the progress.

The NFL has wanted to unload NFL Media for some time, as it has not been a financial success for the league. ESPN, meanwhile, would have the advantage of being closely tied to the most powerful sports league in America as it prepares to move to a direct-to-consumer model within the next two years. ESPN has an existing $2.6 billion rights deal with the NFL, which includes the “Monday Night Football” package.

The two sides have long been tightly bound on business matters, but this would certainly be a new level of cooperation. It is not clear what it would mean for both parties, but such a deal would be a sign that ESPN is doubling down on its already widespread NFL coverage.

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