Networks to broadcast games through 2013-14
CBS and Fox have extended their deals with the National Football League, with both networks now on board to broadcast games through the 2013-14 season.
The contract gives CBS — home to the American Football Conference — rights to the Super Bowl in 2013, which the league announced Tuesday would be held at the Superdome in New Orleans. Fox would likely air the 2014 Super Bowl, but no city has been set.
The extension would increase the value of the existing deal by 2%. In the current contract, Fox pays an average $712.5 million per season to cover the NFC while CBS ponies up an average of $622.5 million.
The league’s early extension comes as a hedge against the economic uncertainty ahead. The deals at Fox, CBS and ESPN are now all aligned to end in 2014 and many on both the network and league sides believe the economy will be stabilized by then. NBC, which has a primetime hit in its “Sunday Night Football” package, sees its deal end in the 2011-12 season.
The networks are also feeling competition from the league-owned NFL Network, which offers several weekday games a year and is becoming a more prominent player. The league also announced Tuesday morning that it had come to a deal with Comcast, the nation’s leading cable provider, to carry NFL Network. Millions of potential viewers have been shut out of key games over the past two seasons. The deal with Comcast gets NFL Network into more than 40 million homes.