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NFL Clear to Negotiate TV Deals After Player Vote

The National Football League is now clear to negotiation new massive television rights deals now that its players union has ratified a new collective bargaining agreement that should mean labor peace for the next 10 years.

The league has been waiting to get an agreement with its players that sets salaries before holding talks about what it expects to be big increases in the billions of dollars worth of revenue it gets for its games.

The new agreement reportedly allows the league to increase the number of games in the regular season to 17 and opens the door for an additional playoff game--both of which are likely to translate into more revenue.

Related: NFL Game Ad Revenue Grew 10%, Says SMI

The NFL’s current deals expire over the next two years, but with football being TV’s biggest ratings draw, staying on the NFL’s roster is a priority for media companies.

The Walt Disney Co., whose ESPN currently has Monday Night Football, is reportedly looking to add another football franchise to bolster ABC and streamers including Amazon and YouTube could also look to increase their presence in sports and there is no bigger sport than the NFL.

NFL is a cornerstone of Fox’s live programming broadcast strategy and analysts are anxious about ViacomCBS’s ability to hold onto its Sunday pro football franchise after CBS Sports reportedly lost SEC college football.

Also in play is the NFL’s Sunday Ticket Package, which is now exclusively with AT&T’s DirecTV.

The new NFL collective bargaining agreement was ratified by a narrow 1,019 to 959 vote that concluded Sunday. It goes into effect for the 2020 season and will run through 2030.

"We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement."

The deal increases the minimum salaries for players.

"NFL players have voted to approve ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by a vote tally of 1,019 to 959," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "This result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution. An independent auditor received submitted ballots through a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results."

Jon Lafayette
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.