Super Bowl Headed to ABC in New NFL Deal, Reports Say

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
A future Super Bowl winner could be celebrating on The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC (Image credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Super Bowl might be returning to ABC as part of a new deal between the National Football League and The Walt Disney Co., according to a published report.

Sports Business Journal reported that Disney is close to a deal with the NFL that would increase rights fees by 30% to about $2.6 billion. That agreement would include the renewal of Monday Night Football on Disney’s ESPN, plus returning Disney’s ABC to the Super Bowl rotation, which it left in 2006. 

ESPN also would get rights to use video clips in its studio shows.

The NFL called the report "incorrect." ESPN declined to comment.

The Super Bowl annually is the most-watched broadcast of the year with commercial prices exceeding $5.5 million for 30 seconds. During the regular season, ad revenue for NFL game broadcasts rose 5% to $2.68 billion, according to Standard Media Index.

The NFL Is in the process of negotiating a new round of rights deals. Most of its current broadcast deals end with the 2022 season.

The current broadcast partners for Sunday games are expected to remain the same, although their rights feels are expected to increase sharply. Disney already paid much more than Comcast’s NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS’s CBS Sports and Fox Sports for their game packages.

Having CBS’s NFL games is a big selling point for the premium version of ViacomCBS’s new streaming service Paramount Plus.

The big change in the game packages is that Fox is not expected to retain Thursday night football, which will be carried by the NFL Network and Amazon, which have been simulcasting the game, according to the report.

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.