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Posted at 9:42 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Report: ESPN, NFL close to nearly $2 billion-per-year deal for 'Monday Night Football'

By Cindy Boren

ESPN and the NFL are close to agreeing to a new deal that would be worth nearly $2 billion per year, according to a Sports Business Daily report.

Citing multiple sources, SBD reports that ESPN will increase its annual rights fee -- to a record amount between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion a year and that the deal, which is nearing completion, will run for 9-to-10 years.

ESPN, which is paying around $1.1 billion annually now, would retain "Monday Night Football," the NFL Draft and highlight clips; however, it would not carry playoff games (at least initially) or enter the Super Bowl rotation. Although the league has been adamant about keeping postseason games on broadcast channels, ESPN reportedly has pushed for at least a wild-card game and the NFL has shown "signs that it is willing to consider" placing a playoff game on cable at some point. The two sides have not reached agreement on broadband and mobile rights, however.

By Cindy Boren  | January 6, 2011; 9:42 AM ET
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It looks like the $4 a month every cable subscriber pays to ESPN will be going up a bit.

Posted by: wolfcastle | January 6, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah. Prepare to send more to your subscriber.

Posted by: Cindy Boren | January 6, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

ESPN makes money from commercials. cable fees increasing is a bogus charge.

Did you notice all but about 4 of the 30+ college bowls are all on ESPN? That does not impact you cable fee.

Posted by: oknow1 | January 6, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Why does NBC only pay $600M a year for SNF, which gets preferential scheduling and the "flex" option?

Posted by: Dellis2010 | January 6, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Because they're not on cable taking a way from ppl who want to watch football without having to pay for it.

Posted by: mpshannon1 | January 6, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

ESPN sucks...and that Berman guy (who acts like he played but never strapped it on...prolly was the guy getting hung from his drawers in HS) is a real dirt bag. Jaws and Gruden need to replace Micahels and that idiot Collingsworthless...

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 6, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The subscriber fee is not a "bogus charge." Advertising revenue is just gravy. A typical cable channel uses the license fee to cover baseline expenses. And ESPN's will go up with this new NFL deal.

Posted by: mattintx | January 6, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Dennis Miller!

Posted by: ozpunk | January 6, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

That bites. I pretty much don't like ESPN's coverage.

Posted by: SarahBB | January 6, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I hate that more and more football is on cable (NFL Network? What's that?) I avoid rising cable fees by not subscribing to cable or satellite. I do hate missing the Monday night game unless I go to a bar.

Posted by: susiebdc | January 6, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

So the fee for just one game a week is about to double, and the owners still can't make any money?

Posted by: FulhamDC | January 6, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I think the playoff games would happen on ESPN if they were to expand the playoffs say to 7-8 teams per conference.

If they go to 7 teams with one getting the bye you will have 6 playoff games the opening weekend. If you expand to 8 you will likely have no team getting a bye and everyone playing the first weekend for a total of 8 games.

The other option with 8 teams is to stagger it where the top 2 teams get 2 weeks off the next 2 get a week off and the bottom 4 are the wild cards. Under this format the division winners are assured of a home game...but they are not assured of a bye.

Say in the NFC for this weekend with Tampa Bay and the Giants in the playoffs you would have #1 Atlanta, #2 Chicago getting 2 weeks, #3 Philadelphia and #4 Saints getting one week off and then this week you would have Tampa Bay @ Seattle and Giants @ Packers.

Under any of the 7 or 8 team formats they then could give ESPN 1 or 2 playoff games. The TV rules will be slightly altered where instead of just primary markets getting the feed...primary secondary and tertiary markets getting the feed through a local affiliate contracted with ESPN.

Posted by: djp98374 | January 6, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

ESPN: C'mon man!

Posted by: bs2004 | January 6, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Now if only they'd fire that shill Mike Turrico.

Posted by: robgoszkowski | January 6, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't see going to a bar to watch sports as a way of saving money. To watch any NFL game (@ 3.5 hours or @ 4 beers) costs @$25 (w/tips) at a bar. That's at least $100 per month for one game a week. Satellite costs much less while also giving you access to a multitude of other sports and entertainment shows. I purchase NHL Center Ice online for $170 per year. In a bar that $170 would allow access to less than 8 games per year.
ESPN treats the NHL as if it were cricket.
Don't even get me started on why the late NFL games run near 4 hours. One team scores, commercials, come back, show replay, commercials, kick off, commercials.
Did anyone see ESPN's replay of the Sugar bowl? They showed two plays of an entire series, went to extended commercials, came back to a different series- one play, more extended commercial breaks. What a joke.

Posted by: gravitymike | January 6, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

gravitymike: You are correct. The answer is I don't go to the bar. I just miss the game on Monday night. : (

Posted by: susiebdc | January 6, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Does ESPN get a refund if there's no season because of a lockout or strike?

Posted by: Garak | January 6, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

ESPN needs to get rid of Jaworski and Gruden as game announcers. Those guys do nothing but slather praise on even the most average players; it's borderline unwatchable.

Posted by: acoberst1 | January 6, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Now if only they'd fire that shill Mike Tirico.

Posted by: robgoszkowski | January 6, 2011 2:34 PM |

I second that.

Posted by: eric22 | January 6, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody seriously still think the players are paid too much ?

Posted by: ellislawoffice | January 7, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

To help ESPN generate additional revenue, they'll be cutting to the booth more often, where Gruden, Jaws or Tirico will be holding up various products. Look for cans of shaving cream, various beer and soda products, boxes of cereal, laundry soap, snack cakes and even dog food.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 7, 2011 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Bring back Tony Kornheiser...

Posted by: wovose | January 7, 2011 6:54 AM | Report abuse

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