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Deals give NFL say over prime time

TV contracts worth $8-billion allow the league to move key late games to Monday nights.

By wire services
Published November 9, 2004

NEW YORK - The NFL agreed Monday to $8-billion in contract extensions with Fox and CBS to televise Sunday afternoon games for six more years, deals that also would allow the league to show better matchups late in the season in prime time.

The contract that expires after the 2005 season was worth $17.2-billion, including the Sunday night (on ESPN) and Monday night (on ABC) packages. The extensions will run through 2011. The league still is negotiating for the prime-time packages.

The NFL has the option to move seven late-season games from Sunday to Monday night to feature more attractive matchups, the Associated Press reported.

The NFL also can develop late-season prime-time satellite or cable packages of eight games, which would be televised Thursdays and Saturdays. The league could take those eight games and show them regionally in prime-time telecasts Sundays and Mondays.

DirecTV also extended its deal with the league through 2010 for the Sunday Ticket package. The satellite distributor will pay $3.5-billion for the five-year extension.

Fox will pay $4.3-billion, or $712.5-million per year for the NFC games, while CBS will pay $3.7-billion, or $622.5-million a year, AP reported.

[Last modified November 9, 2004, 00:27:24]


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