By Harvey Hoffman
Mickey Mouse is pissed!
Disney is reportedly pushing back to a doubling of the already massive NFL rights fee.
That would balloon the company’s annual rights fee to nearly $4 billion, CNBC said Friday.
According to multiple reports over the past week, the NFL is looking to charge its broadcast partners anywhere from 50-100 percent more than under their current deals. Even at the lower end of that range, Disney would pay nearly $3 billion per year.
NBC’s rights fee, if doubled, would equal the amount Disney currently pays. Fox and CBS would pay just over $2 billion/year.
Variety reported last week that the NFL had only recently presented financial terms to its partners, though it is hard to imagine that Disney — or any of the league’s partners — could have been surprised by the high price tag. The NFL has long been expected to reap a major financial windfall from these negotiations.
As has been reported by multiple outlets, the NFL could announce its new media rights deals within the next month.
During a particularly acrimonious period between the NFL and ESPN late in the last decade, there were some rumblings that ESPN could pass on renewing its NFL deal. Those rumors dissipated after John Skipper resigned as ESPN president and the network’s new leadership sought to mend its relationship with the league. ESPN has held NFL rights continuously since 1987.