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How Much Is the NFL Really Worth to Verizon?

By the Motley Fool Staff - Dec 20, 2017 at 5:12PM

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At around $1.5 billion for five years of live-streaming rights, the telecom is paying 20% more per year than it did before.

In this segment of the Motley Fool Money podcast, host Chris Hill, Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger, and Total Income's Ron Gross weigh in on Verizon's (VZ 1.75%) deal to renew its contract with the NFL. It's not an exclusive deal, and that alone makes it less valuable. But pro football is not worth what it used to be as a brand, and it's likely to get worse.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Dec. 15, 2017.

Chris Hill: Verizon is renewing its contract with the NFL to live-stream games to its subscribers. Verizon had paid $1 billion over the past four years, and now over the next five years, Jason, they're paying $2 billion. On a percentage basis, that's quite a leap.

Jason Moser: That is a leap. When you look, it's a big deal. I think that number begs the question, are they paying too much? And I tend to think that yes, they are, for a few different reasons. No. 1, this isn't an exclusive deal. I think it's going to span carriers. And I do understand that, because this is less about Verizon, per say, and more about the properties that they own in Yahoo and AOL and what not. So, I understand, at least, having that sort of span carriers. But I think you have to look a little further out and think about the NFL and the pressures that we're seeing the league facing right now. It's not to say that the NFL is going away. But in line with the Disney discussion we were having regarding the sporting properties they're getting there, I think the NFL is hitting a point where I don't know that they can continue to command the same type of pricing power in the years to come. When we look at the nature of the sport, the injuries that are taking place, there are a lot of people that have a lot of problems with what's going on right now. And we have to think about the future of the game and how many people are really saying, "I don't want my kids to be a part of something like that." That doesn't matter now, but it's going to matter 20 years from now, unless they get their act together. Verizon, they're really good at delivering that information and data to us, providing the content a little bit of a different story. I'm not sure this is really a deal that's going to make a whole heck of a lot of sense for them four or five years down the road. Again, I think we're probably hitting the point where the NFL is particular has hit that point where they can't command much more in the way of pricing.

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