Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch Says NFL Deal Not Imminent

Lachlan Murdoch
Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch speaking at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said that, despite press reports, there is no imminent announcement of a new deal with the National Football League.

There have been numerous reports that the main points of new deals between the broadcasters and the league have been set, with most franchises staying in place at considerably higher prices. 

The main change would be Fox giving up Thursday Night FootbalI, leaving that with Amazon and the NFL network, which simulcast most of the Thursday night games last season.

“It feels like we’re still apart on a number of issues, so there’s no imminent announcement,” Murdoch said, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Telecommunications, Media and Technology conference on Thursday.

With Thursday night games and the Sunday afternoon NFC package, Fox had more NFL programming than any other network.

Also Read: A Look at NFL Social Video Trends Ahead of the Super Bowl

Murdoch said that the Thursday package was good for promoting the new Fox following the sale of most of 21st Century Fox to The Walt Disney Co. The Thursday night games provide a promotional platform for Fox and for shows like 911 and The Masked Singer.

“But it was also something we knew would give us some options going forward,” he said. “Whether we have Thursday and Sunday, whether we just kept Thursday, or the most likely scenario is just keep Sunday.”

The NFL is seeking deals that may last as long as 10 year, much longer than in the past.

Murdoch indicated that Fox is comfortable with the longer deals. “Historically [the rights fees] have gone up in each renewal and not down, and so I think a longer-term deal makes sense,” he said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.