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THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, ESPN AND NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE REACH LANDMARK LONG-TERM AGREEMENT

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the National Football League (NFL) have reached a wide-ranging, long-term agreement.

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  • More Postseason Games: Super Bowls on ABC/ESPN and Additional Playoff Telecasts
  • More Exclusive National ESPN+ Content Including New Live Game Rights and NFL PrimeTime
  • 35% More Regular-Season Matchups: Monday Night Football Featuring Three Weeks With Multiple Games, Plus Saturday Action
  • Enhanced Schedule Quality and Flexibility
  • Comprehensive Highlights, NFL Draft, Pro Bowl and More
  • 10-year Agreement Begins in 2023
ESPN Monday Night Football
Landover, MD – December 3, 2012 – FedEx Field: ESPN Monday Night Football sign during a regular season Monday Night Football game (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the National Football League (NFL) have reached a wide-ranging, long-term agreement that will result in ABC/ESPN joining the Super Bowl rotation, additional playoff action, exclusive national ESPN+ matchups over the course of the agreement, significantly more regular-season contests including Monday Night Football, enhanced game quality, new schedule flexibility and more.

The historic 10-year agreement, which begins with the 2023 season, was announced today by Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content, and Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner. (Note: Updated information about ESPN’s plans for the interim 2021 and 2022 seasons is documented at the bottom of the release.)

Statement from Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company
“This landmark agreement guarantees that ESPN’s passionate fan base will continue to have access to the best the NFL has to offer. Bringing all the considerable and unique capabilities of The Walt Disney Company and ESPN to the table opens up so many opportunities across our industry-leading direct-to-consumer, broadcast, cable, linear, social and digital outlets. Special thanks to Roger Goodell and the NFL owners for continuing to embrace new ways to appeal to their fans, especially through increasingly important platforms like ESPN+.”

Statement from Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content
“When ESPN and the NFL work best together, the results are transformational for sports fans and the industry.  Some of the most remarkable collaborative examples have occurred in the past 12 months and have demonstrated the extraordinary range of The Walt Disney Company that is fundamental to this agreement. There are so many exciting new components, including Super Bowls and added playoff games, new end-of-season games with playoff implications, exclusive streaming games on ESPN+, scheduling flexibility and enhancements, and much more.  It’s a wide-ranging agreement unlike any we’ve reached with the NFL, and we couldn’t be more energized about what the future holds.”

Statement from Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
“We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Disney far into the future, as ESPN will continue to host cable’s most-watched series, Monday Night Football, and ABC is returning as a Super Bowl broadcaster. We look forward to working with Disney as they use new platforms, including ESPN+, in innovative ways to reach even more NFL fans.”

Super Bowls Accentuate Expanded Postseason Offerings
ABC/ESPN will carry two Super Bowls (2026, 2030 seasons) as part of a rotation between the NFL’s media partners, marking the first time that an ESPN-NFL agreement included such Super Bowl rights. ABC last televised the Super Bowl in February 2006 (2005 NFL season). Also, ESPN will present more playoff action, adding an annual divisional round game to its schedule, which will continue to include a wild-card matchup.

ESPN+ Exclusive National Live Game Rights Strengthen Impactful NFL Streaming Content
A highlight of ESPN’s increased regular-season package will be one annual exclusive national game on ESPN+, the industry-leading sports streaming service. The game will take place internationally and will be aired live in the Sunday morning ET window. Additionally, this agreement allows ESPN the opportunity to simulcast all ESPN/ABC game telecasts on ESPN+.

Also included is rights for the return of ESPN+ NFL PrimeTime, the iconic NFL highlights show, each week on the streaming platform. NFL PrimeTime is the most-watched, non-game ESPN+ original program. Since its 2018 launch, ESPN+ has showcased a wide variety of top quality NFL content, including the highly-acclaimed Peyton’s Places, and the upcoming multi-part Man in the Arena series focusing on Tom Brady’s Super Bowl journeys. ESPN+ has grown to 12.1 million subscribers.

Monday Night Football To Include Three Weeks With Multiple Monday Games; Saturday Action Also Coming
ESPN will increase its regular-season schedule by 35% — six more games per year (from 17 to 23). It will include an ESPN game on Monday nights (including three weeks with a separate game on ABC), a Saturday doubleheader the season’s final week and the Sunday morning game on ESPN+.Monday Night Football, which has been aired on ESPN in primetime since 2006, remains cable’s most-watched series.

The added two Saturday games will take place during the final week of the regular season and will showcase matchups with playoff implications. Both of those games will be simulcast on ABC and ESPN.

Increased Quality for Game Matchups Via Added Flexibility and Team Appearances
The agreement includes new elements that will enhance the caliber of the Monday Night Football slate. First, the schedule will be more flexible than in years past with the ability for the NFL to swap a more meaningful game into the Monday Night Football slot with 12 days’ notice from Week 12 on. Additionally, top teams will appear more often, as a result of the agreement which provides ESPN the ability to showcase any four teams at least twice, leading to even more compelling games.

Comprehensive Highlights Rights, NFL Draft, Pro Bowl, Studio Shows, MegaCasts, International and More
As part of the agreement, ESPN will supplement its game coverage with the most extensive NFL content at scale across every available platform. Fueled by comprehensive NFL highlights rights, ESPN will continue to offer and/or develop NFL-branded programming (e.g. – NFL Live), pre- and post-game shows, news, analysis and highlights studio shows, storytelling vehicles, digital and social content and much more. It also includes data rights (e.g. – NFL’s Next Gen stats).

In addition, ESPN has once again secured rights to the annual Pro Bowl. Other key elements include opportunities for alternate telecasts (e.g. – MegaCasts), extending and expanding ESPN’s international rights (including areas in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania, India), ESPN Deportes and more.

ESPN has also obtained rights to NFL Drafts, an event that has been an ESPN fixture since 1980, as part of the agreement.

The rights in this new agreement provide flexibility to maximize current and potential future distribution of ESPN.

2021 and 2022 Seasons
The 2021 season will be the last in ESPN’s current arrangement with the NFL. ESPN and the NFL have reached a bridge agreement for 2022 – the year between when the previous agreement expires and the new 10-year extension begins. For both the 2021 and 2022 seasons, all the foundational components from the agreement expiring in 2021 will be included (e.g. – weekly Monday Night Football games), in addition to select elements from the new 10-year agreement. For example, in 2021, ESPN will be adding the two Saturday games with playoff implications on the last weekend of the regular-season. For the 2022 bridge year, ESPN will showcase the two Saturday games with playoff implications on the last weekend of the season, a Sunday morning ESPN+ game and one ABC Monday Night Football broadcast on a week there is also an ESPN Monday Night Football telecast.

ESPN and NFL
ESPN has been delivering distinctive NFL content since its first calendar year. A combination of live NFL games (since 1987) and groundbreaking studio programming have led the way. Today, ESPN’s platforms provide in-depth, year-round coverage of the league, from NFL game action to special events, to news, highlights, analysis and storytelling.

ESPN

ESPN Celebrates the 2021 NFL Schedule Unveiling with Three Primetime Specials on Wednesday Night; ABC’s Good Morning America Begins the Day with Monday Night Football News

ESPN will usher in the 2021 NFL Schedule and the NFL’s ‘Biggest Season Ever’ with three primetime specials, all beginning at 8 p.m. ET, across six platforms on Wednesday, May 12.

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NFL Schedule 2021
  • ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN App and Social Platforms with Simultaneous Productions
    • ESPN2: Examines Weekly Signature Matchups and Key Storylines with Monday Night Football Booth — Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick – along with Adam Schefter
    • ESPN+: Delves Into Weekly and Season-Long Team and Player Projections, including Odds and Fantasy Football Implications with Daily Wager and Fantasy Football Now Commentators
    • ESPN App, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube: SportsNation Provides Instant Reaction with Insight from NFL Nation Reporters
  • Good Morning America Exclusively Announces Monday Night Football’s Week 1 Matchup Wednesday Morning

ESPN will usher in the 2021 NFL Schedule and the NFL’s ‘Biggest Season Ever’ with three primetime specials, all beginning at 8 p.m. ET, across six platforms on Wednesday, May 12, as the organization celebrates the unveiling of the Monday Night Football and entire NFL season slate and delves into the signature matchups and storylines of the upcoming season. The primetime programming will provide a bookend to the day, which will begin with Good Morning America announcing Monday Night Football’s week 1 matchup exclusively (likely in the 8 a.m. hour).

The primetime specials will be available on ESPN2, ESPN+, the ESPN App and digital/social channels — Facebook Twitter, YouTube:

  • ESPN2’s SportsCenter Special: 2021 NFL Schedule Releaseexamines the key pressure points for teams throughout the season, as well as can’t-miss games in every week of the 2021 campaign. The SportsCenter Special will also be available simultaneously on ESPN+.
  • ESPN+’s Between the Lines: NFL Schedule Release will explore weekly and season-long team and player projections, from both an odds and fantasy football angle, and the impact the 2021 schedule has on potential team and player results.
  • ESPN App and digital/social channels: SportsNation provides an instant reaction to the NFL schedule from multiple personalities. Fans will also hear from ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters about specific schedules for the team each covers.

The SportsCenter Special production will be three hours (8-11 p.m.), while Between the Lines is two (8-10 p.m.) and SportsNation is one hour (8-9 p.m.). Wednesday evening, ESPN.com will also provide a deep dive into the schedule, offering analysis on all 32 teams’ slate, individual team record predictions and a roundtable on the best games of the season.

Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, the Monday Night Football Broadcast Booth, Headline SportsCenter Special on ESPN2 and ESPN+
Monday Night Football play-by-play commentator Steve Levy will host the three-hour SportsCenter Special and be joined by his broadcast booth analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, as the team will react and provide immediate thoughts on the 2021 MNF schedule, the weekly franchise’s 52nd season. The trio will also explore key matchups throughout the season for a variety of teams, as they speculate on what could be ‘Games of the Year’ and contests that could define teams’ seasons. Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter is also part of the special and guests are likely to join, including Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay.

Daily Wager Crew and ESPN’s Leading Fantasy Football Voice Matthew Berry Featured in the Vegas and Bristol Split Production on ESPN+
The ESPN+ Between the Lines: NFL Schedule Release show will include the cast of Daily Wager — Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh, Tyler Fulghum, Steve Coughlin, and Anita Marks – and Fantasy Football Now including senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry, host Field Yates, and insiders Stephania Bell and Mike Clay. The split Bristol-Las Vegas production will examine a variety of projections, including team wins, player’s statistics, and who may have award-winning seasons as the show focuses both on the odds and fantasy football angles of the upcoming season.

SportsNation Provides Instant Reaction, ESPN NFL Nation Insights on ESPN App, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
SportsNation, showcased on the ESPN App, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, will be fronted by Treavor Scales, Gary Striewski, and Christine Williamson, as the three personalities will give their instant reaction, favorite matchups and other immediate thoughts to the schedule release. The hour-long special will also feature multiple ESPN NFL Nation reporters who will delve specifically into specific teams’ schedules.

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ESPN

Iconic Commentator Chris Berman Signs Multi-Year ESPN Extension

Legendary sports commentator and industry innovator Chris Berman has reached a new multi-year agreement with ESPN.

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Industry-Leading Voice To Build Upon Historic Career; Signature NFL PrimeTime on ESPN+ Among Assignments

Legendary sports commentator and industry innovator Chris Berman has reached a new multi-year agreement with ESPN, it was announced today, on the occasion of Berman’s 66th birthday, by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. Berman, who joined ESPN a month after its September 7, 1979 launch, will continue to bring his uniquely energetic and passionate style to various high-profile assignments.

Among the continuing roles for Berman will be hosting NFL PrimeTime on ESPN+, a signature weekly series that showcases his exceptional ability to anchor comprehensive game highlights in a one-of-a-kind format. Additionally, he will host NFL PrimeTime on ESPN after the Super Bowl and NFL Conference Championship games. He will also continue to contribute commentary, features, interviews and perspective across ESPN shows and platforms, including SportsCenter and beyond.

“Quite simply, Chris Berman has personified ESPN’s success for more than four decades,” Williamson said. “Fans respond to his authentic love of sports, his ability to savor and capture the big moments, and his on-air style that reminds us how live games can truly be equal parts essential and fun. We are delighted Boomer’s magical ride at ESPN will continue for years to come.”

Berman added, “Working at ESPN has been nothing short of a fairytale for me. We all love sports and the excitement they bring us on a daily basis. I’m thrilled to be able to continue this journey and share it with so many talented folks ‘in the building,’ and best of all, countless viewers who share the very same passion. I’d like to say it’s put me over the moon, but I’d better bring it up to date. It’s put me over Mars.”

Berman arrived at ESPN in October 1979 as a 24-year-old sportscaster and became one of the industry’s most popular voices during his more than 41-year career at the company. A six-time National Sportscaster of the Year, Berman has been recognized with numerous honors for his long and growing list of accomplishments. He was the first sportscaster to receive the Newseum Institute’s Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media in Washington, D.C., and he was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame in Salisbury, N.C. In 2015, Berman was just the fifth on-air personality to be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.

An original SportsCenter anchor, Berman hosted countless editions of ESPN’s signature program over the years. His NFL studio contributions have been particularly significant. From 1987-2005, he and longtime partner Tom Jackson teamed together for NFL PrimeTime, the first show of its kind and cable television’s all-time highest-rated sports studio show. The show returned in 2019 to its current ESPN+ home. He was the face of ESPN’s NFL Countdown for 31 years (through the 2016 season), an industry record for a weekly pro football studio show host.

His “Fastest Three Minutes in Television” halftime highlights has also been a staple during ESPN’s weekly NFL primetime game through the years, and his “Swami” segment on SportsCenter, dubbed “The Two Minute Drill,” has been a fixture throughout his ESPN tenure.  The 2010 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football, Berman has covered 39 Super Bowls, hosted the NFL Draft for 30 years (through 2016), and has served as Master of Ceremony for the prestigious Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction since 1999.

Berman’s impact on the sports world goes well beyond football. He has called Major League Baseball games on TV and radio and hosted Baseball Tonight studio shows for many years. Most notably, Berman called ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning telecast of Cal Ripken’s 2,131st consecutive game on September 6, 1995, and he became a fan favorite nationally for the nicknames he created in his sports highlights. In all, he has covered 31 MLB All Star games, including calling Home Run Derbys in each of those years, and 30 World Series. Berman also covered the U.S. Open golf tournament from 1986-2014, and he co-hosted ESPN and ABC’s Stanley Cup Playoff telecasts in 2003 and 2004.

Berman graduated from Brown University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. His first broadcasting position came while he was a student at Brown as sports director for WBRU Radio and commentator for basketball, football, ice hockey and baseball games. He also assisted with NBC Sports telecasts in New England – including the memorable Game 6 of the 1975 World Series – and served as a correspondent for WEAN, a Providence, R.I. news radio station.

Berman began his career as a disc jockey at WERI in Westerly, RI, hosting a news-oriented talk show and covering high school football and basketball games. One year later, he joined WNVR Radio in Waterbury, Conn., broadcasting high school football games, co-hosting a sports talk show and doing traffic reports. His first television exposure came in 1979 when he joined WVIT-TV, an NBC affiliate in Hartford, Conn., as a weekend sports anchor.

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VIACOMCBS AND NFL REACH NEW LONG-TERM MULTIPLATFORM RIGHTS AGREEMENT THROUGH THE 2033 SEASON

The National Football League (NFL) and ViacomCBS announced today a new 11-year multiplatform rights agreement that extends CBS’ long-standing relationship with the NFL through the 2033 season.

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All Games in Package to Be Broadcast on the CBS Television Network and Streamed on Paramount+

CBS Continues as Home of the AFC, Allowing for More Sunday Afternoon Games Than Ever, The AFC Championship Game Each Year and Three Super Bowls Beginning the First Season of the New Deal

Expanded and Flexible NFL Distribution Rights for Paramount+ Beginning with 2021 Season

Historic Agreement Grants Vast Array of Rights Across ViacomCBS Networks, Properties and Platforms

The National Football League (NFL) and ViacomCBS announced today a new 11-year multiplatform rights agreement that extends CBS’ long-standing relationship with the NFL through the 2033 season. CBS Sports continues as the home of the NFL’s American Football Conference (AFC), featuring many of the game’s brightest young stars, with all games broadcast on the CBS Television Network and streamed live on Paramount+, ViacomCBS’ flagship streaming service. This historic agreement also grants an expansive list of NFL rights across ViacomCBS networks and platforms, enabling the company to maximize its content creation, distribution and reach throughout the length of the deal.

The new agreement, which begins with the 2023 season, allows for CBS Sports to broadcast and stream more Sunday afternoon games than ever before and also includes an expanded schedule of games featuring teams from the National Football Conference (NFC). In addition, the schedule is highlighted by 10 CBS doubleheaders, including the NFL’s most-watched window Sundays at 4:25 PM ET, eight singleheaders and the annual Thanksgiving Day game. CBS Sports will broadcast three Super Bowls over the length of the deal, including the first in the new agreement, Super Bowl LVIII in 2024, as well as Super Bowl LXII in 2028 and Super Bowl LXVI in 2032.

The CBS Television Network and Paramount+ will also present a full slate of playoff games each season, featuring the AFC Championship game, one Divisional game and one Wild Card game. A second Wild Card game will be added to the CBS Sports lineup during the 2024, 2029 and 2033 seasons. 

ViacomCBS will retain its extensive in-market exclusivity, ensuring that the CBS-affiliated stations and ViacomCBS platforms will continue to be the source for local availability of THE NFL ON CBS. CBS will also gain increased rights to protect games from being flexed to other networks and time slots.  

Paramount+ has been granted new and expanded rights for the streaming service, allowing for the flexibility to distribute NFL games on both the premium tier at $9.99 and the new $4.99 ad-supported tier that will debut in June. The rights begin with the 2021 season and extend throughout the length of the new deal to 2033. 

“We are thrilled to extend and expand our long-term partnership with the NFL to create even more value for ViacomCBS and for NFL fans,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO, ViacomCBS. “Today’s groundbreaking deal ensures that more big games will be available on CBS and Paramount+, with greater NFL programming opportunities featured across all ViacomCBS platforms including Pluto TV, vastly expanding the NFL’s reach among younger audiences in a rapidly evolving media landscape. NFL football is both a pillar of CBS Sports and huge differentiator for our streaming strategy, and our extensive partnership with the NFL will be fundamental to further driving growth and engagement on Paramount+ for years to come.”

“CBS’ NFL programming creates value for every one of our key constituents – our audience, advertisers, owned stations and affiliates, as well as our pay-tv distribution partners. It is must-have content that stands above the crowd in a fragmented television universe,” said George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Entertainment Group. “The NFL ON CBS has been a vital part of our broadcasting business for decades and it will be a powerful driver of our streaming success in the decade ahead. Our brands share a great history and a very exciting future together.”

“The NFL has been a cornerstone of CBS Sports programming for more than 60 years. We are extremely pleased to extend our long-standing partnership with the NFL for the next decade,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “The NFL is the most valuable content in all of media, and we are excited that the deal allows for more Sunday afternoon games than ever before and we retain the NFL’s most-watched time slot. This wide-ranging deal includes significantly expanded rights, and we look forward to continued growth and to maximizing the enormous value of the NFL across all of our CBS Sports platforms.” 

The landmark NFL/ViacomCBS agreement includes a wide array of expanded rights, ensuring that as the media landscape evolves, ViacomCBS has extensive rights to innovate its content creation and distribution, reaching a variety of audiences across its various networks, properties and platforms. The broad rights grant includes expanded rights across CBS’ digital and social platforms, and the ability to implement interactive features for consumers on Paramount+ and via ViacomCBS’ distribution partners. The company also has the capability to collaborate with the NFL to create alternate game telecasts, similar to the highly acclaimed, family-friendly Wild Card playoff game production on Nickelodeon this past January. Additionally, CBS has the opportunity to partner with the NFL for legalized sports betting applications. 

ViacomCBS and the NFL have also agreed to long-term rights extensions for CBS Sports HQ, Pluto TV and INSIDE THE NFL, which will stream exclusively on Paramount+ beginning with the 2021 season.

CBS Sports first began televising NFL regular-season games in 1956, and this season marks its 62nd season. CBS Sports had broadcast rights to the National Football Conference package from 1970 through 1993 and began televising the American Football Conference package in 1998.

The NFL has a one-time right to opt out of this long-term multiplatform rights agreement after the 2029 season. 

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