The Super Bowl Will Stay on Network TV For 9 More Years

Earlier this week the National Football League announced a new set of over-the-air television contracts with CBS, NBC and Fox. Things will remain mostly the same for the three network television partners, with CBS continuing to carry the AFC package, Fox the NFC package and NBC Sunday Night Football. The Kick-off Game will continue to air on NBC, while the current playoff format remains unchanged. NBC will get the Super Bowl in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021; CBS in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022; Fox in 2014, 2017, 2020 and 2023.

However, a few aspects of the new contracts that are intriguing. The first is the ability to expand NFL Network’s schedule past the current 8 games. This suggests that NFL Network could carry games 15 weeks of the season. NFL Network still couldn’t broadcast games week 1 because NBC has a Thursday game and Week 17 because the NFL only plays on Sundays in week 17. This also seems to rule out the chance of the NFL selling an early-season Thursday package to a cable network like TNT, FX or Versus. The NFL will determine how many Thursday night games NFL Network will get in 2012 during the offseason.

Also, beginning in 2014 the NFL can move games from CBS to Fox, and vice-versa. Some might call this the “Tebow Effect” after the NFL moved an originally CBS game, Denver @ Minnesota, to Fox earlier this year. It was the first time that Tim Tebow started in a game on Fox. While it is a confusing concept, and one that could cause tension between CBS and Fox, it is a good move by the NFL. It could fix a problem where Fox has 3 really good games in a week, and CBS has none. It should mean that more viewers get good games.

NBC picks up the Thanksgiving night game,  replacing NFL Network. I thought this move would have made sense when the NFL first created the Thanksgiving night game for NFL Network. It is about time they moved it to network TV. NBC will also flip one of its Wild Card Playoff games for a Divisional playoff under the new contract.

Let’s be honest here, unless the NFL wanted to move one of these packages to cable, they didn’t have any other options. ABC, whose sports division is now under the control of ESPN, had no interest in getting back into the NFL business. That only left three networks to bid for three packages, and while CBS would secretly love to get the NFC package back, all three are quite happy with the current arrangement. The good news is that the Super Bowl will stay on network TV until network TV dies 2023. Earlier this season the NFL also re-signed their Monday Night Football deal with ESPN to last into the 2020s.

These moves probably mean little for Canadian TV rights. TSN and Sportsnet will probably battle over the next round of bidding for the Thursday night package. If it extends into October, which is likely, it will conflict with Sportsnet’s Baseball Postseason coverage. This could make TSN a more attractive option for the NFL. There is also an outside chance that Sportsnet and/or Citytv could make a bid at Sunday Night Football.

Another loss at CBC… Nabil Karim has left the public broadcaster to join TSN’s SportsCentre. Karim previously hosted Hockey Night Online, soccer broadcasts and as a reporter at the 2010 Commonwealth Games on CBC and CBC Bold. He was also a sports anchor for CBC News Network. Karim will join TSN’s World Junior Hockey Championships broadcast team as well. Andi Petrillo is replacing Karim on Hockey Night Online temporarily.

Yet another loss at CBC… Hockey Night in Canada will also lose Mike Milbury at the end of the year as he takes an expanded role at NBC and NBC Sports Network. Some might see this as a great present. I see it as an opportunity for CBC’s Hotstove. CBC could replace Milbury with Glenn Healy, which would only degrade the quality of the once mighty Hotstove. Instead CBC should add a reporter from a Montreal newspaper. This would not only add an interesting perspective (with Toronto-based, Calgary-based and Montreal-based reporters), but would also ease Canadiens fans’ concerns that the CBC hates their team. CBC need not look any farther than last Saturday’s Hotstove to find a replacement for Milbury: La Press’s François Gagnon. If not Gagnon, there are lots of good hockey writers in Quebec, I’m sure CBC can find one with a few spare minutes on a Saturday.

Bills Blackout… Not even God Tim Tebow can save the hapless Buffalo Bills from a Christmastime blackout. This Saturday a Bills home game is blacked out for the third consecutive time as the Broncos come to Orchard Park. The game is available on CTV and CBS in western Canada; however, those feeds are likely blacked out in the Toronto/Niagara region on cable and satellite.

What Did Canada Watch in 2011… With no home Olympics the list of Canada’s most watched shows in 2011 varies greatly from the 2010 list. Check it out on CTV’s media site. Lot’s of hockey and football.

Hughson on Concussions… Here is Jim Hughson’s video blog on concussions. This is why he is one of the best.

Buck on Twitter… Fox’s Joe Buck has joined Twitter just in time for this Saturday’s important Eagles-Cowboys game. If you are on Twitter, he is a must-follow. If you still don’t have Twitter, now is a good time to get it. Buck’s responses to viewers who don’t like him are hilarious. My personal favourite:

An English coach in Montreal… Lastly, I hate the Montreal Canadiens and if hiring a sub-par coach just because he speaks French floats your boat (Canadiens fans in Quebec I’m looking at you), great. Of course right now you just have a sub-par coach who can’t speak French. In all seriousness, most of the Quebec media can speak English and Cunneyworth has a translator. I don’t see the big issue. This happens in European soccer all the time.

HBO 24/7… For those who don’t get HBO, RDS is airing 24/7 on Saturday nights leading up to the Winter Classic. It is must-watch TV.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Lastly, this is probably my last post for about a week. It’s Christmas, if you celebrate it, go spend time with your friends and family, not on here. Enjoy the NFL on Christmas Eve, NBA on Christmas Day, the Premier League on Boxing Day, the World Juniors, the Spengler Cup and college football’s bowl games. Or, if you don’t like any of those great traditions, enjoy mid-season NHL. Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate, and to those who don’t, enjoy your overtime pay and/or time off work.

Here is one last Christmas song from me to you heading into the long weekend. It is one of the best music videos ever, Run-DMC’s Christmas in Hollis.

9 thoughts on “The Super Bowl Will Stay on Network TV For 9 More Years

  1. I have a real big issue with what is going on in montreal my reason is if this was the other way around and ottawa or toronto hired a coach that could speak little english very few would care they would just want the best coach no matter if they could speak english or not.

    • The language used among all teams/players on the ice, in the dressing room, etc is English. The coach needs to communicate with the players so the French media’s argument that Toronto or Vancouver would never hire a French only speaking coach is invalid. I don’t think Cunneyworth is the man for the job going by his hockey CV only, but the French media and Quebec nationalists should be ashamed of the way they’ve treated him. And the people using this to express their political opinions on language in Quebec are probably not even hockey/Habs fans, like the ones planning the rally at the Bell Centre on Jan 7. They don’t seem to care that Marc Trestman (Alouettes coach) doesn’t speak French and I doubt any Expos manager ever spoke French. The best candidate based on hockey coaching abilities should get the job, period.

  2. You forgot to mention NBC’s two big gains – the Thanksgiving night game starting in 2012, and one divisional playoff replacing a wild card game starting in 2014.

    And Merry Christmas to you!

  3. I would have loved it if CBS had gotten the NFC package back. I miss the classic NFL Today theme and Frankie Vinci’s “Superbowl” theme.

    For Thursday nights, I wouldn’t mind if there were 14 games starting next season outside of the Opening Night, Thanksgiving Night and Week 17 slate of games. 7 games on NFL Network and 7 on either NBC Sports Network, Turner or FX.

    If Rogers makes a bid to carry Sunday Night Football and wins the rights, I think that it would wind up on Sportsnet as Citytv doesn’t have stations in Montreal and the Maritimes. Unless they decide to put SNF games only on Sportsnet East whereas the rest of Canada can see it on Citytv.

    Bell TV will definitely block the CTV & CBS stations that are carrying the Bills game tomorrow in the GTA, Hamilton & Niagara regions. Not too sure about Rogers & Shaw Direct though…

    Hotstove on CBC: I think that adding a newspaper reporter from Montreal would be an excellent idea. It can’t hurt for the CBC to go that route. Anything is better than Glenn Healy (aka Mr. Negative) As for the Quebec nationalists and media members who are bashing the fact that Randy Cunneyworth is the coach of the Canadiens and cannot speak french, that’s ridiculous. If they want an inferior head coach who speaks french and doesn’t lead the Canadiens to the playoffs year in, year out, then that’s their problem. If they want to boycott Molson products, I say go right ahead. It’s only going to make Quebec nationalists and media members look bad in the minds of everyone else.

  4. I don’t think the CBC will have Healy on the Hot Stove. He was on one week, but that was more of a fluke. A Montreal newspaper reporter would be a great idea. They definitely miss Pierre LeBrun on the Hot Stove.

    • You never know with the CBC. They could continue to have Healy inside the glass or put him in the studio and on Hotstove. The latter would be a bad move. If not a Montreal newspaper reporter on a permanent basis, how about Chris Stevenson from the Ottawa Sun?

  5. Pingback: Weekly Links: World Juniors Turn Massive Profits, Players Play for Free; More Discussion About Hockey Concussions « Hockey in Society

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