Legal - Football Wiretap

Analyst: ROI On NFL TV Deal Doesn't Make Sense For ESPN

Oct 17, 2019 10:57 AM

The NFL's TV rights come up for bid again in 2021 (ESPN's Monday Night Football package) and 2022 (CBS, Fox and NBC). The timing could work out well for the NFL if their ratings resurgence continues.

ESPN, however, pays $1.9 billion per year for Monday Night Football compared to just over $1 billion each for the three networks.

"The last ESPN deal was inefficient, and the ROI doesn't make sense for cable networks," said MoffettNathanson media analyst Michael Nathanson.

Nathanson doesn't expect a streaming platform to become the primary outlet for one of the TV packages.

"It's too disruptive. But [there could be more] around the edges like they've done with Thursday night and Amazon [which streams most of those games]," said Nathanson. "But I think the NFL understands, as long as the broadcast monetization system is still there with retrans, they don't want to blow up the ecosystem."

Rick Porter/Hollywood Reporter

Tags: Legal

NFL Ratings Climb Nine Percent Since 2017

Oct 17, 2019 10:51 AM

NFL viewership is up approximately three percent from last season to an average of 16.3 million viewers through Week 6.

Ratings for the NFL bottomed out in 2017, which sparked speculation that their marketshare would continue to fall.

Since hitting a low for this decade of 15 million viewers in 2017, viewership has climbed 9 percent and is on par with the 2016 season (16.5 million).

"If the conversation around football is primarily about the game, then we're probably winning," says Michael Mulvihill, executive vp and head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports, which has the Super Bowl this season. "And if the conversation is about topics away from the game, we're probably losing. I think the focus for the past season and a half has become more where we'd like it to be, which is just on the games."

Conversations centered on politics and player safety have receded somewhat for the NFL.

The NFL's TV rights come up for bid again 2021 (ESPN) and 2022 (CBS, Fox and NBC).

Rick Porter/Hollywood Reporter

Tags: Legal

NFL, NFLA Discuss 17-Game Season In CBA Talks

Oct 16, 2019 4:57 PM

The NFL and NFLPA are discussions on a 17-game regular season as part of their new collective bargaining agreement talks.

The NFL previously pushed for an 18-game season while nearly all sides would like a reduction of the preseason schedule.

“We’ve had very fruitful discussion on it, discussing the positives and negatives, and the changes to the game that we’ve made over the last 10 years, which I think are really important as it relates to the safety of the game and how we’re preparing and practicing, and training our players,” Roger Goodell said, via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily. “I think those changes have made a significant impact in a positive way, and so that is something we’ll continue to discuss.”

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Tags: Legal

NFL Sees No Evidence Of Tanking, Not Considering Draft Lottery

Oct 16, 2019 2:05 PM

Roger Goodell sees no evidence of teams tanking and the NFL is not currently considering a draft lottery.

"The good news for us is we don't see that," said Goodell on teams potentially tanking.

The Miami Dolphins have been accused in the media of tanking this season.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Draft, Draft Misc, Legal

Thursday Night Football Generates 5.3 Percent Of Salary Cap

Oct 14, 2019 11:28 AM

Todd Gurley and Matthew Slater have criticized the NFL for continuing to play games on Thursdays.

FOX pays approximately $600 million per year for the rights to 11 Thursday night games, while Amazon pays an additional $65 million. Peter King estimates that approximately $300 million of the NFL Network's $1 billion annual revenue comes from commercials during the Thursday games, which means approximately $965 million in revenue from the Thursday night game.

If the NFL eliminated their Thursday night schedule, those games would be absorbed back into Sunday and two sources with knowledge of the situation claim it would be a revenue loss of $665 million for the NFL.

The cap would fall by 5.3 percent without the Thursday night games.

Peter King/Sports Illustrated

Tags: Legal

Antonio Brown Willing To Return To Patriots

Oct 9, 2019 12:03 PM

Antonio Brown appears willing to return to the New England Patriots.

Brown expects to collect his money from the Patriots and he believes they may as well let him play because of that.

“The Patriots have to pay me,” Brown said in an Instagram live video. “They may as well play me.”

Tom Brady reportedly wanted the Patriots to keep Brown.

Mike Florio/ProFootballTalk

Tags: New England Patriots, Fantasy, Free Agent Rumor, Legal, Misc Rumor

Antonio Brown To File Up To Nine Grievances, Appeals

Sep 29, 2019 10:59 AM

Antonio Brown will file nine grievances and appeals simultaneously as he looks to recoup as much as the $61 million he believes he is still owed to him.

The grievances and appeals involve the following issues and sums of money:

• Fine appeals with the Oakland Raiders: $215,000

• Salary guarantees with Oakland: $29 million

• Signing bonus with Raiders: $1 million

• Oakland's unpaid Week 1 salary: $860,000

• New England Patriots' salary guarantee: $1 million

• Patriots signing bonus: $9 million

• Patriots' unpaid Week 3 salary: $64,000

• Patriots' option year in 2020: $20 million

Brown could also file an appeal if he is suspended by the NFL. Brown has been accused of sexual assault and sexual misconduct by two different women

Adam Schefter/ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Legal, Misc Rumor, Suspension

NFL Abandons Push For 18-Game Schedule, Focused On 17

Sep 26, 2019 12:19 PM

The NFL has dropped its quest for an 18-game season and is instead focused on expanding the regular season to 17 games, sources tel Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.

The NFL would shorten the preseason from four games as part of the change.

“Not enough owners support (for) 18 and players would not go for it either,” one of the sources said.

There are currently 18 months remaining on the NFL's existing 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstances — being in the best interest of our players,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told in July. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”

It is not yet known what the NFLPA's position will be on 17 games.

Daniel Kaplan/The Athletic

Tags: Legal

Antonio Brown Calls Out Robert Kraft, Ben Roethlisberger

Sep 22, 2019 11:34 AM

Antonio Brown called out Robert Kraft and Ben Roethlisberger for their alleged sexual transgressions following his release by the New England Patriots.

Kraft was chawed with solicitation for allegedly receiving a sex act at a massage parlor.

Roethlisberger was suspended four games by the NFL for multiple sexual assault accusations.

A source told Adam Schefter that "Kraft [is] never writing that check, no matter what the ruling is now."


Tags: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Legal, Suspension

Antonio Brown Declined To Sign $2M Settlement With Britney Taylor

Sep 15, 2019 11:51 AM

Antonio Brown declined to sign a settlement with Britney Taylor worth just over $2 million.

Brown had a deadline last Sunday night to sign the settlement before Taylor's attorneys sought to file their civil lawsuit of sexual assault allegations against him.

Brown's decision not to sign the settlement came around the same time that he agreed to a deal with the New England Patriots.

The NFL will meet with Taylor this coming week.

Jeff Darlington/ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Legal, Suspension

NFL Won't Place Antonio Brown On Exempt List

Adam Schefter/ESPN

ESPN Bracing For Silicon Valley Competition For Monday Night Football

Associated Press

Antonio Brown Sued For Sexual Assault By Former Trainer

Ben Shpigel/New York Times

Odell Beckham Jr. Plans To Keep Wearing $190k Watch In Games

Mary Kay Cabot/Cleveland Plain Dealer

ESPN's Monday Night Football Ratings Up 19 Percent From 2018

Dominic Patten/Deadline

NFL's Sunday Ratings For Week 1 Flat With 2018


Owners Seeking Expansion Of Regular Season In New CBA

Dan Graziano/ESPN

NFL, NFLPA Unlikely To Agree To New CBA Before Start Of Regular Season

Ian Rapoport/

Antonio Brown Loses Second Grievance To Wear Old Helmet

Paul Gutierrez/ESPN

Roc Nation To Run NFL's Entertainment Endeavors
Roc Nation will advise on the selection of artists for events such as the Super Bowl.

Jason Reid/ESPN

Antonio Brown Loses Grievance To Wear Old Helmet
Antonio Brown has threatened to retire from the NFL if he is unable to wear his old helmet.

Adam Schefter/ESPN

NFL Signs Exclusive Data Deal With Sportradar
Sportradar will hold exclusive rights to distribute official NFL data to legal sports-betting operators in the U.S. and abroad.

Eben Novy-Williams/Bloomberg

NFL Has Become More Tolerant Of Marijuana Use
The NFL has become more sympathetic to mental health and anxiety issues.

Jay Glazer/The Athletic

NFL, NFLPA Meet Again On Tuesday
The current CBA will expire after the 2020 season.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

NFL, NFLPA Set To Intensify CBA Talks
The current CBA expires after the 2020 season.

Dan Graziano/ESPN

Patriots File Tampering Charge Against Texans Over GM Approach
The Texans attempted to hire Nick Caserio as general manager.

Adam Schefter/ESPN

Roger Goodell Interested In Decreasing Preseason Games
The NFL has long backed reducing the preseason schedule in exchange for expanding the regular season to as many as 18 games.


NFL Wants Bills To Build New Stadium To 'Remain Competitive, Stable'
Ownership of the Bills have discussed a new stadium that would be a "scaled-down version" of new facilities that have been built in other cities.

Josh Alper/ProFootballTalk

Insurance Companies Want To Know When NFL Knew About Head Trauma Risks
The NFL is seeking more than $1 billion from its insurance carriers.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

NFL Claims Draft TV Coverage Breaks Record With 47.5M Total Viewers
The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft had more than 11 million viewers.

Michael David Smith/Pro Football Talk