Looking to try to grab a big audience for springtime professional football, the new USFL’s first regular season game will be broadcast live by both NBC and Fox in primetime on April 16.
NBC Sports and Fox have split the broadcast rights to the new league under multi-year deals.
The game will feature the New Jersey General playing the Birmingham Stallions at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Having two broadcast networks combine and start something like the USFL is not only unique but represents our commitment to making spring football succeed,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman, NBC Sports. “We’re excited about the opportunity, and we appreciate the partnership and cooperation that we’ve had with Eric and his team at Fox Sports.”
NBC will produce pregame, halftime and postgame coverage. Fox will produce coverage of the game itself, with the same sportscasters appearing on each network.
Both networks will run the same commercials during the broadcast.
“The first game played in any new league is itself historical and having the USFL’s inaugural game simulcast by NBC and Fox makes it even more so,” said Fox Sports CEO and executive producer Eric Shanks. “It’s rare when two competitors can come together and see how cooperation can lead to long-term benefit, and it wouldn’t be possible without having terrific relationships with Pete, Jon Miller, and so many others at NBC Sports.”
Historically, the first Super Bowl was broadcast by both CBS, which aired NFL games and NBC, which had a deal with the newer AFL. More recently in 2007, NBC, CBS and the NFL Network all carried the Patriots final game of the regular season against the Giants as the Patriots pursued a perfect season.
Between them, NBC and Fox plan to carry 43 regular-season and postseason USFL games this season.
NBC Sports will present nine games on NBC, four on Peacock and nine on USA Network. Fox will have 14 on Fox and eight on FS1. ■
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.
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