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NFL renews television deals with CBS, Fox and NBC

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 14 2011 3:49 p.m. MST

The NFL has renewed its television deals with CBS, Fox and NBC for nine years through the 2022 season, the league announced Wednesday.

The average rights fees from the three networks will increase by an average of 7 percent annually, a person familiar with the details said. That will take the total revenue from them from the current $1.93 billion per year to $3.1 billion by 2022.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the figures were not made public.

The current agreements expire after the 2013 season.

The contracts will also allow NFL Network to expand the number of Thursday night games it airs beginning next year, though the league has not determined how many additional contests will be added. The current package includes eight games during the second half of the season.

"These agreements underscore the NFL's unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "The agreements would not have been possible without our new 10-year labor agreement and the players deserve great credit. Long-term labor peace is allowing the NFL to continue to grow, and the biggest beneficiaries are the players and fans."

Earlier this season, the NFL and ESPN reached an eight-year extension to keep "Monday Night Football" on the cable channel through the 2021 season.

CBS, Fox and NBC will each televise three Super Bowls during the length of the contracts, continuing the current rotation.

"No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does," CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement echoed by his counterparts at the other networks.

Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill called the sport "the greatest television property in the world." NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said "there is no more powerful programming on television."

NFL games account for 23 of the 25 most-watched programs among all television shows this fall and draw more than twice as many average viewers as broadcast prime-time shows.

The nine-year terms are the longest for NFL television agreements with over-the-air networks. The previous longest were the eight-year deals with CBS, Fox and ABC from 1998-2005.

CBS will continue to show the AFC package on Sunday afternoons as it has since 1998, while Fox still has the NFC package that it first acquired in 1994.

"Sunday Night Football" will remain on NBC, which picked it up in 2006. The network will add the annual Thanksgiving prime-time game starting in 2012 and will exchange one of its current wild card matchups for a divisional playoff game.

Flexible scheduling will stay in effect to ensure quality late-season matchups on Sunday late afternoons and nights. It will be expanded in 2014 to allow some AFC games to air on Fox and NFC games on CBS, with all the details yet to be worked out.

The deals include "TV everywhere" rights for the networks to simulcast games online and on tablets — though not mobile phones, for which Verizon has a separate agreement.

AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen contributed to this report.

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