ABC hopeful on costly NFL pact

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ABC President Bob Iger said today he believes ABC's costly new National Football League rights deal "actually ... stands a chance to be positive for us economically." He cited the fact that ABC and sister Walt Disney Co. unit ESPN now will have "exclusive rights to NFL football in primetime during the regular season." He did not talk about the possibility of an ad rate increase. Steve Bornstein, president of ABC Sports and president-CEO of ESPN, said the fees cable operators pay to carry ESPN will only rise "a few cents" per subscriber to help pay for the new deal. ABC agreed to pay $4.4 billion for rights to "Monday Night Football" over eight years; ESPN agreed to pay $4.8 billion for cable TV rights to Sunday night NFL games.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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