The new NFL TV deals were expected, and now that they are here, it makes sense to highlight a few of the notable parts to the contracts (not the least of which is that the league/owners will get more than $100 billion over the next 11 years). The contracts begin in 2023 and go through 2033.
There are plenty of details, including ESPN getting to televise Super Bowls, but here are the highlights:
-- "Monday Night Football" will have the ability to flex games from Week 12 through the end of the season, ensuring better matchups down the stretch. Now, I don't know how early those flex games will be made. For teams, it's one thing when a Sunday afternoon kickoff is flexed to Sunday night, or vice versa. The road team's logistics with the hotel doesn't really change. But to take a team who has planned for a Monday night game and have it flexed to Sunday afternoon? That's more of a heavy logistical lift. I also had a fan ask what happens for those who are planning on attending and, for instance, can't get to a Monday night game as opposed to a Sunday game, or are flying in for the game. So we will see how that plays out.
-- The Monday night doubleheader that usually opens the season will be expanded to three MNF doubleheaders, with ESPN showing one game and ABC the other.
-- "Thursday Night Football" will be moving to Amazon Prime streaming, in a nod to where the league thinks viewership is headed. If your local team is involved in the Thursday game, it will still be shown on a free, over-the-air channel in that market.
-- There will be much more streaming (mostly in simulcast formats alongside broadcast TV) on the networks' streaming services, like CBS' Paramount Plus, NBC's Peacock and ESPN+.
-- The future home of Sunday Ticket, which has been on DirecTV, has not yet been decided.
-- With the TV contracts in place, most believe the 17th regular-season game will be approved starting with this season. This year, the extra game will feature the NFC as the road team and the AFC as the home team, with it flipping next year. In 2021, the Cardinals will visit Cleveland against the Browns if there is a 17th game.