|Football TV rights are now equal to the combined rights fees of both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.
NFL officials said the six-year deals were worth a combined $8 billion. Executives close to the situation said the agreements were worth $713 million a year for the Fox package and $622 million for CBS. The $8 billion in rights fees just for the CBS and Fox packages equal the combined rights fees for Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.
Also announced Monday evening was a five-year, $3.5 billion extension of the NFL's deal with DirecTV through 2010. DirecTV retains exclusive rights to carry NFL Sunday Ticket, the leading sports subscription TV package in the country.
Still out: ESPN, ABC
Still to be determined are the league's current prime-time packages with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and ABC. ESPN has weekly Sunday night games, while ABC has had Monday Night Football for 35 years. But executives said other networks -- presumably General Electric's NBC and cable stations TNT and TBS -- are also in the picture.
The league's current broadcast rights contract, the most valuable in team sports, was for a combined $17.2 billion and was to expire following the 2005 season.
CBS had NFL games from 1956 to 1993 before losing its package to Fox in 1993. CBS then re-acquired NFL rights in 1998.
New interactive elements
"Both networks will continue ... coverage of the NFL, which has grown to 32 teams and undergone realignment with a new, balanced scheduling formula since our last television negotiations in 1998," said a statement issued by the NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue. "The commitment to high-definition production plus new enhanced and interactive elements will take our Sunday afternoon telecasts to the next level."