Whether the NFL plays its 2020 season is the most important question in media with ESPN, CBS, NBC and FOX reliant on the revenues from live games.
“It’s practically the only thing on the minds of the networks,” said John Kosner, a former ESPN executive who is now an industry consultant. “If you lost an NFL season, you’re looking at a financial hemorrhage.”
A senior ESPN employee recently opined that there is no fallback plan even worth considering if the NFL doesn't play because nothing can replace the content or revenue that comes with it, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
FOX is most dependent on the NFL as it has a package for Thursday and for Sunday. FOX brought in nearly $2 billion from the NFL's games last season, not including the Super Bowl.
The NFL's broadcast agreements are set to expire in 2021 and 2022, which could be as much as a doubling of the current figures.