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NFL, Networks Agree to Multi-Billion Dollar Extension

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Staggering.

That's as apt a decription as any of the numbers being thrown around about the latest NFL-TV contracts.

It was announced Wednesday that begining in 2014 the NFL has extended its broadcast agreements with CBS, Fox and NBC through 2022, generating additional billions. Earlier this year the league made similar deals with ESPN and DirecTV. Currently, all the broadcast partners pay the NFL almost $4.8 Billion a year.

When the extenion kicks in, before Jerry Jones and his fellow owners sell a single ticket, luxury box, or sponsorship, they will divide almost $7 Billion a year in media generated revenue.

The broadcast networks will be supplying a little over $3 Billion of the payment, and here is what each will get for their money.

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Currently Fox is paying $725 Million a year, and that will go up to $1.1 Billion in 2014. They will retain the rights to the NFC, and will have three additional Super Bowls (in 2014, 2017 and 2020.) Additionally, the deal includes "TV everywhere" rights, which enables Fox Sports to offer the games it broadcasts and other NFL programming on FOXSports.com, tablets and other digital platforms, excluding mobile phones (the NFL has a deal with Verizon for that).

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CBS will boost its annual payment to the NFL from $625 Million to $1 Billion begining in 2014. It will retain the rights to the AFC and will telecast 3 Super Bowls during the rotation. CBS will also assume the same "TV Everywhere" rights for their games as Fox.

The two networks will also participate in an expanded flexible scheduling program. Begining in 2014, the NFL will have the ability to enhance the Sunday late afternoon slot by shifting any game to whichever network controls it that week. That means that CBS could end up with an NFC contest one week in the prime afternoon slot, and Fox could show an AFC game there when it is their turn.

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NBC will begin paying $950 Million a year - compared to their current rate of $625 Million for Sunday Night Football. They will also take part in enhanced flexible scheduling, and will have multi-media platform distribution rights. NBC will carry a Thankgiving Night contest begining in 2014. They will utilize Spanish language rights so that games could be shown on Telemundo, mun2 or with an SAP feed.

The NFL Network will expand its Thursday Night schedule, although it hasn't been decided as to how many weeks they will pick up.

The networks are willing to up the ante because live sporting events are a key to their profits, and the NFL is the Holy Grail of programming.

Live sporting events draw the largest audiences -- with a minimal amount of DVR and TIVO interruption.

So far this fall season, of the 25 most-watched programs on broadcast TV, 23 are NFL games, They draw almost twice the audience of other broadcast programs.

As an example, the Thanksgiving doubleheader saw the early contest -- Green Bay vs. Detroit -- draw over 30 million viewers. The late afternoon game (Dallas vs. Miami) topped out at almost 31 million viewers.

Last years Super Bowl was the most watched US televised event in history with an average of 111 million viewers at any one time.

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In terms of "reach" 163 million US viewers (53% of the total population) tuned into at least some part of last year's Super Bowl.

These viewing numbers were on the minds of both players and owners this summer during labor negotiations, and they were a major factor in getting them to hammer out a 10-year agreement before any of the season was lost.

Both sides understood that long-term labor piece was essential to keep the TV Golden Goose pumping out those Billions.