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."