The National Football League continues to spread its footprint across more networks, signing a deal with Ion Media for a weekly one-hour “NFL Game of the Week” every Saturday at 6 p.m. through January.
Ion, a TV-station group that reaches 93 million viewers, is the second network deal engineered by the NFL in the last month. A weekly primetime series called “NFL Network: Total Access” runs every Saturday from 9 to 10 on MyNetworkTV through the end of the NFL season.
The “Game of the Week” ran in previous years on the NFL Network. But this year the series will be exclusive to Ion, although some of the lengthy game summaries may end up being shared with the NFL Network, which this season will carry 90-minute summaries early in the week of five pre-selected games from the previous weekend.
So the game between Dallas and New York, which ran on NBC Sept. 9, will get a 90-minute recap on NFL Network on Wednesday and, separately, will get the 60-minute treatment Saturday on Ion. (Dallas won 45-35.)
Ion will pay the NFL an undisclosed license fee for “NFL Game of the Week” and will keep all of the advertising time in each telecast. Ion will also run promos for the NFL as part of the arrangement. The MyNet contract is more of a barter deal, in which the NFL doesn’t pocked any cash but instead gets some 30-second spots to sell in the “Total Access” telecast.
NFL Films will also produce 21 episodes of a new half-hour series for Ion called “Stories of the NFL,” which consists of profiles of players and what their lives are like off the field. It kicks off in February 2008.
Brandon Burgess, CEO of Ion Media Networks, and Howard Katz, chief operating officer of NFL films, negotiated the contract.