Legal - Football Wiretap

TV Execs Encouraged By NFL Ratings Being Down Just 10 Percent

Oct 13, 2020 1:00 PM

While NFL viewership is down 10 percent compared to 2019, television executives feel good about the league's performance.

“This is not really a year for anybody to get too hung up on ratings,” said Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming and scheduling at ESPN, which was the only TV network to post an increase for its NFL games. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” is up 1% through Week 4.

“NFL content is still incredibly powerful,” Magnus continued. “These are massive audiences. We take a lot of solace in the fact that NFL games are the most powerful content on television and people continue to show up in huge numbers. We’re not going to get all twisted up about ratings.”

After a glut of competition in September and October from the NBA, NHL, MLB and the election, the final two months of the season will give the NFL possibly an unprecedented position without real competition.

“With every passing week, we’re getting closer to a normal competitive environment for the NFL,” said Mike Mulvihill, executive vice president and head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports.

Total live viewing through Week 4 was up seven percent over a year ago since July 23.

NFL viewership has declined in each of the past six presidential elections. “In the most recent 2016 presidential election, NFL regular season viewership was down 14% for the nine weeks prior to the election vs flat for the eight weeks after the election.”

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

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NFL Not Seriously Considering Home-Market Bubbles

Oct 7, 2020 8:21 PM

The NFL is not seriously considering the possibility of implementing home-market bubbles in which all players, coaches and other essential personnel would stay in a hotel for the balance of the season.

The NFL also isn't seriously considering a pause on the season due to ongoing outbreaks with the Tennessee Titans and possibly the New England Patriots. 

The Bills-Titans game set for Sunday currently is in grave danger, and it can’t be delayed until Monday night because the Bills play the Chiefs on Thursday night.

Washington Post (via Mike Florio/ProFootballTalk)

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NFL Could See 75 Percent Increase With New TV Contracts

Sep 14, 2020 1:01 PM

The NFL could see an increase of up to 75 percent for their television packages.

Existing contracts begin expiring next year and are in the process of renegotiation. 

Current media partners “all seemingly are eager to extend their current relationships,” the analysts from MoffettNathanson wrote, estimating that the total annual NFL price tag will rise to $8.82 billion from $5.62 billion.

Tom McGovern, president of the sports marketing agency Optimum Sports, said that companies saw the NFL as a “safe haven” and a “beacon of hope.” After ad spending slumped in the pandemic, football will capture “a greater share of a smaller pie,” he said.

Tiffany Hsu/New York Times

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NFL Extends Timeline On Finalizing New Media Rights Deals

Sep 2, 2020 8:41 PM

The NFL's current media rights deals expire after the 2022 season and are in the process of negotiating the next round.

Before the start of the pandemic, the NFL hoped to get deals completed by the end of 2020, but Roger Goodell now says it could happen “in the next few months or the next two years. That’s not as important to us as getting it right.”

Goodell said the league would seek new partners that can help the NFL expand beyond television and more into digital.

“We want to reach new platforms where our fans are,” Goodell said. “We’ve got to reach new partners in the context of that. So, I see this negotiation as working with our current partners to continue that relationship as well as bringing new partners in that are going to help us reach those additional [fans].”

Jabari Young/CNBC

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Multiple Black NFL Players Considering Strike

Aug 28, 2020 11:35 AM

Multiple prominent Black NFL players are considering going on strike for a game to express their dissatisfaction with the current treatment of people in their community and to force change and action, according to Jim Trotter of NFL Media.

"They are tired, frustrated and emotional. It’s only a few at this point, but sparks become flames & flames become infernos," wrote Trotter.

Trotter warned that "NFL owners should be careful."

Troy Vincent of the NFL league office believes it could happen.

"If we're not expecting this is going to happen, then we're not living in reality," said Vincent.

"We saw the young men in Detroit and Seattle and today in Washington. ... We've just got so much work to do."

Jim Trotter/NFL Media

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NFL's 32 Teams Collectively Worth $99 Billion

Aug 26, 2020 1:29 PM

The average NFL franchise is worth more than $3 billion, according to data compiled by Sportico. 

The Dallas Cowboys rank first in the NFL at $6.43 billion with the Cincinnati Bengals ranking last at $2.12 billion.

The fair-market value of the NFL's 32 franchises collectively is $99 billion when considering team-related businesses and real estate held by owners.

The teams’ $15.83 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, which represents the 2019 season, was greater than that of 298 companies on the Fortune 500. That averages to about $495 million per team.

In 2019, the Cowboys generated an estimated $871 million in revenue, which was 81% greater than the average of the other 31 teams.

Peter J. Schwartz/Sportico

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NFL Won't Get Typical Out-Of-Home Bump For TV Ratings In 2020

Aug 20, 2020 1:59 PM

The NFL television ratings typically get a boost on Sundays from fans watching games in bars, gyms, airports and restaurants, many of which remain closed to have significantly reduced capacity. 

While there will be some out-of-home (OOH) numbers included, that number will be around a five percent viewership bump compared to the low-to-mid double digits. 

Ben Fischer/Sports Business Journal

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Only 40 Percent Of NFL Season Ticket Holders Request Refund For 2020

Aug 20, 2020 1:51 PM

The NFL had approximately 40 percent of their season ticket holders request a refund, according to league sources.

The figure is considered a victory as most teams tried to encourage fans to leave money in their accounts through incentives such as priority access to playoff tickets and food-and-beverage discounts.

"If you project this out across the entire season-ticket member base, we estimate that only approximately 30% ... requested their money back,” said a source. “Or looked at the other way, 70% chose to leave money on account for either a ticket purchase this year or for season tickets next year (2021). We see that as very positive.”

Ben Fischer/Sports Business Journal

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NFL Could Create Bubble For Playoffs

Aug 19, 2020 4:10 PM

While the NFL will attempt to play its regular season without a bubble, they could create one for the playoffs.

Troy Vincent revealed Sean Payton recently raised the issue during a recent Competition Committee meeting.

As teams get closer and closer to a berth in the Super Bowl, they will become more, not less, careful about avoiding COVID-19.

Mike Florio/ProFootballTalk

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NFL Has 66 Opt-Outs As Deadline Passes

Aug 7, 2020 7:43 AM

The NFL had 66 players opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The NFL set a deadline of August 6th by 4 PM ET to opt out and be eligible for a stipend of $150,000 to be treated as a salary advance against his tolled contract.

A player can still opt out later if one of the following applies: if that player gets a new diagnosis that he has a high-risk condition; or if a player's family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition.

Voluntary Opt-Outs

Baltimore Ravens: KR De'Anthony Thomas, OL Andre Smith

Buffalo Bills: DT Star Lotulelei, CB E.J. Gaines

Dallas Cowboys: CB Maurice Canady, WR Stephen Guidry

Green Bay Packers: WR Devin Funchess

Houston Texans: DT Eddie Vanderdoes

Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Lerentee McCray, CB Rashaan Melvin

Kansas City Chiefs: OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

New England Patriots: LB Dont'a Hightower, FB Dan Vitale, RB Brandon Bolden, OL Najee Toran, WR Marqise Lee

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Marquise Goodwin

San Francisco 49ers: WR Travis Benjamin

Seattle Seahawks: OL Chance Warmack

Tennessee Titans: OL Anthony McKinney

Higher Risk Opt-Outs

Arizona Cardinals: OL Marcus Gilbert

Carolina Panthers: LB Christian Miller

Cleveland Browns: OL Colby Gossett

Los Angeles Rams: OT Chandler Brewer

Minnesota Vikings: DT Michael Pierce

New England Patriots: OL Marcus Cannon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Brad Seaton

Washington Football Team: DE Caleb Brantley

Unspecified Opt-Outs

Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Mack

Chicago Bears: DT Eddie Goldman, S Jordan Lucas

Cincinnati Bengals: DT Josh Tupou, OT Isaiah Prince

Cleveland Browns: G Drew Forbes, T Drake Dorbeck, DT Andrew Billings, G Malcolm Pridgeon

Dallas Cowboys: FB Jamize Olawale

Denver Broncos: DT Kyle Peko, RT Ja'Wuan James

Detroit Lions: DT John Atkins, WR Geronimo Allison, C Russell Bodine

Indianapolis Colts: LB Skai Moore, DB Rolan Milligan, DB Marvell Tell

Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Al Woods

Kansas City Chiefs: RB Damien Williams, OT Lucas Niang

Las Vegas Raiders: DB D.J. Killings, DE Jeremiah Valoaga, LB Ukeme Eligwe

New England Patriots: S Patrick Chung, TE Matt LaCosse

New Orleans Saints: TE Jason Vander Laan, TE Cole Wick

New York Giants: OL Nate Solder, WR Da'Mari Scott, CB Sam Beal

New York Jets: OL Leo Koloamatangi, LB C.J. Mosley, WR Josh Doctson

San Francisco 49ers: OL Shon Coleman

Washington Football Team: LB Josh Harvey-Clemons

NFL.com

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NFLPA Pushing For Daily COVID-19 Testing

Tom Withers/Associated Press

Saints' More Restrictive 'Voluntary' Bubble Could Be Adopted Widely

Mike Florio/ProFootballTalk

NFL Likely To Maintain Status Quo With New Media Rights Deals

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Dr. Allen Sills 'Cautiously Optimistic' About NFL's 2020 Season

Houston Chronicle (via Michael David Smith/ProFootballTalk)

Roger Goodell References 'Complete' NFL Season In Letter To Fans

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NFL, NFLPA Agree To Daily Testing Plan When Camps Open

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NFL Team Doctors Tell Players It Is Safe To Report To Training Camp

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NFL Has Had 72 Players Known To Test Positive For COVID-19

Dan Graziano/ESPN

NFLPA Seeks Opt-Out Clauses, Conditional Stipends

Jeremy Fowler/ESPN

NFL To Force Players From Rival Teams To Social Distance After Games

Tom Pelissero/NFL Network (via PFT)

Networks To Have 'Financial Hemorrhage' If NFL Cancels Season

Ben Strauss/Washington Post

NFLPA President: NFL Unwilling To Prioritize Player Safety With COVID

Kevin Seifert/ESPN

NFL To Tarp First 6-8 Rows To Protect Players From COVID-19, Sell Ads

Ben Fischer/Sports Business Journal

Suspect Arrested In Sucker Punch Of Dallas Goedert

Tim McManus/ESPN

Dr Anthony Fauci Believes NFL May Need Bubble To Play 2020 Season

Michael David Smith/ProFootballTalk

Aldrick Rosas Arrested On Hit-And-Run Charge

Jordan Raanan/ESPN

Fox In 'Very, Very Early Discussions' With NFL On New Rights Deal

Dade Hayes/Deadline

NFL Likely To Lose $3 Billion In Revenues If Stadiums Empty

Michael David Smith/ProFootballTalk