Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

History of the WNBA television rights

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The WNBA currently has TV rights with ESPN. I believe that it is escalating because just recently I was able to watch the WNBA Draft just a couple a weeks ago. According  to ESPN W, last year was the first time ESPN had shown the draft in prime time television.  This is definitely a sign of progress. The league recently signed a new agreement that allows up to 30 live games to be televised each season on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN, including coverage of the playoffs, draft and All-Star Game. 30 games is not much, but it is better than nothing. Right now, the WNBA is the only female professional league that is being televised and they should not take that for granted. Some exposure is better than nothing. According to sports business daily, the deal is worth $12M per year, which amounts to about $1M per WNBA team, and runs through the ’22 season.

ESPN has always had a contract with the WNBA since 1997, but it was through the NBA. The viewing numbers are not as high as the NBA, but they are better compared to other professional sports that ESPN covers. According to sports business daily, the WNBA Finals averaged more viewers on ESPN2 than IndyCar did on NBCSN and the U.S. Open Series tennis events did on ESPN2.  This is great for the WNBA because these numbers are steering away from the stereotypical answer of “nobody watches or they don’t draw crowds”. With the opportunity given to the WNBA from ESPN, the numbers are increasing and are showing that this sport can draw viewers! ESPN must believe or at least have faith in the league because of the recent agreements to a new contract that is extending their deal.

I think that the contract has extended because of the hype around certain female basketball stars. The stars such as Britney Griner and Skylar Diggins, because they had such a fantastic college career and people would follow them into their professional career. The star group does not end there. This year, the WNBA will be getting more talented stars that people will want to follow. For example, Shoni Schimmel, she will bring a spark to the professional game just like she did while at Louisville. A lot of people will follow her not only because of the upset she had over Britney Griner last year, but because she will draw the native american crowd. The Atlanta Dream is already planning on hosting a Native American night May 30th in order to draw the bigger crowds, knowing that the native american community will follow Shoni Schimmel.  Also according to her twitter page, her first week of having her professional jersey up for sale online, the jersey sold out in a matter of a couple of days. So with fans excited about Shoni going to the WNBA, I see this year’s viewing numbers increasing!

I only see good things happening for the WNBA. I see the talent getting better and better. It is only a matter of time before the games start getting shown more often because soon more people will demand to see the games.

NFL and the history of its TV deals

Sunday, April 27th, 2014


The start of professional football can be tracked all the way back to 1869 where modified London football rules were used in a game of college soccer. It wasn’t until 1939 however, that the first NFL game was televised by NBC between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Brooklyn Dodgers. By 1951 the NFL Championship Game was televised coast-to-coast for the first time, December 23. The DuMont Network paid $75,000 for the rights to the game, in which the Rams defeated the Browns 24-17. By 1955, NBC became the television home to the NFL Championship Game, paying $100,000 to the league for the rights to telecast the league finale.

As Pro Football gained in popularity, it rights fees went up causing CBS to pass on NFL Football in the mid 1990’s and allowing the new FOX Television Network to gain a foothold in the broadcast sports realm. Today, the major networks pay upwards of $550 million a year to televise NFL games which can now be seen on cable, satellite and broadcast networks. NFL announced nine-year extensions to its broadcast television packages with Fox, NBC and CBS under which the networks are expected to pay roughly 60% more. The new agreements will run through the 2022 season as the current deals expired after the 2013 season.

The NFL’s new 10-year labor agreement and increased TV rights deals are the reason that NFL teams are worth $1.04 billion on average or twice as much as the average MLB team and three times what NBA teams command. NFL games represent 23 of the 25 most-watched TV programs this fall and they attract twice as many average viewers as broadcast primetime shows. Annually, the NFL redistributes upwards of $4 billion in radio, TV and digital earnings across its 32 teams, roughly $125 million apiece, plus an equal share for the league, and that number shows no sign of declining. The 19 highest-rated fall TV programs (and 28 of the top 30) were NFL games, and this year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched program ever. 5 of the many popular sports networks: ESPN, DirecTV, FOX, NBC, and CBS all have contracts with the NFL of roughly 3.985 billion dollars a season. ESPN pays $1 billion per season (18 games), DirecTV pays $1 billion per season (8 games plus NFL Sunday Ticket), FOX pays $712.5 million per season (102 games), NBC pays $650 million per season (18 games), and CBS pays $622.5 million per season (102 games).

T.V. rights have continued to escalade for the NFL and from what history shows will only continue to keep doing so. A new contract is underway with the NFL and major networks that will keep them under contract till 2022. The fan base is so large for the NFL, do to location in major cities across the U.S. & because of this, the demand for football is high. Households who are unable to see their favorite team live, can sit back in the comfort of their own home and watch the game televised almost anywhere in the U.S. Which is why football is the highest rated fall TV program.

We continue to see an increase in fan base in the NFL which brings in more popularity to the sport. As popularity and demands for the sport increase, more games will be televised, to the point where one day each game will be broadcasted nationwide. However, when that does occur a plateau may occur and profits may stop and just maintain a steady income. If this does occur which will be some time down the road, the NFL being money hungry will expand their horizons and aim for new markets, which is one of the reasons football is trying to spread to other parts of the world; I.E. Canada, Europe. This is also why some games are hosted in London, to help promote football and to expose others about the sport, so during the future it can expand and be broadcasted as a worldwide sport.