Sides Have Discussed Big Fee Increase Even as League Complains of Hard Times
The National Football League and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN unit are pushing toward an extension of their "Monday Night Football" broadcasting deal that includes a substantial fee increase, highlighting the health and power of the league even as NFL owners claim their business is encountering hard times.
Matthew Futterman at wsj.com cites industry executives with knowledge of the talks, the two sides have discussed increasing the rights fee to as much as $2 billion a year.
ESPN executives, however, are said to be trying to both lower the annual fee and gain all multimedia rights to the Monday night games to make the deal more valuable and in line with deals it now has with the National Basketball Association and college football.
A new deal featuring such a large increase from the current $1.1 billion annual price tag would come at an awkward time for the NFL, whose owners are considering locking out the players when the current collective bargaining agreement expires in March because they claim the league is facing economic turmoil.
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