Does the NFL have TV rights?

Does the NFL have TV rights?

In March 2021, the news had the effect of a bomb: the NFL had just sold part of its national TV rights for the period 2023-2033 for a total of approximately 110 billion dollars. These new contracts with CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and Amazon will bring in 10 billion per year over 11 seasons. Figures that make you dizzy and which would represent double what the American football league currently receives for the same rights, even though the European market seems to be reaching a plateau.

Difficult not to multiply the comparisons between the NFL and “our” football leagues which, taken individually, do not weigh. Even counting international rights, the Premier League expects to generate around £3.5bn per season in 2022-25. UEFA hopes to receive more than €4.5 billion a year in TV rights and sponsorship over the 2024-27 cycle for all of its club competitions. And it’s not over: the NFL still has lots for sale including its sunday ticketsthe total per season should thus reach 12 billion dollars.

Such amounts logically fuel the fantasies of certain European leaders. Andrea Agnelli never missed an opportunity to compare the Champions League to the NFL when he was president of the ECA from 2017 to 2021. Florentino Pérez, his new ally, is also having a field day… just like Nasser Al-Khelaifi, yet opposed to the first two in the Super League affair. In the mouth of these three presidents, the same speech: the Americans do much better than the Europeans when it comes to organizing and marketing their sports competitions, we must copy something in their model.

A few calculations, however, make it possible to put this difference into perspective. First of all, and contrary to what Florentino Pérez has suggested in recent weeks, European football still generates significantly more income than American football. Granted, the NFL smashes the competition when comparing leagues to each other. But when you look at the scale of sport, the story is different: the NFL is the only major competition in American football, while several European football leagues generate several billion each in TV rights. According to the estimates of Sports Business Consulting“soccer” should generate 21.8 billion dollars in TV rights in 2024, compared to 13.7 for American football… itself far ahead of basketball, which comes third with 4.5 billion pending the renewal of television rights. the NBA.

We sometimes hear that this comparison makes little sense because many more European football matches are played each year than American football, and therefore that the NFL would be more commercially efficient. Note a paradox: if we follow this reasoning, copying the American model by concentrating the elite and the value within a super competition should cause football revenues to fall since the number of high-level matches would be reduced. The argument is however often put forward by supporters of a Super League. In reality, the difference between the two models lies more in the distribution of wealth than in the total they can generate: professional American football hardly exists outside of 29 cities, 22 states not being represented by any team . The concentration of Premier League clubs in England is about 50 times higher than that of NFL clubs in the United States.

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