With the NFL season in full swing, it's a good time to evaluate some of the partners of the most popular sport in America. All the companies I'll mention had to pay to become partners with the NFL, but the relationships are considered beneficial relationship for all parties involved, and all stand to continue to benefit from the league's popularity.
First and foremost, the television rights to broadcast NFL games are the most expensive of any sport in the United States, with its four major television partners -- Disney's
Future Super Bowl
|CBS||$622.5 million||$825 million||2013|
|Fox||$712.5 million||$975 million||2014|
|NBC||$650 million||$850 million||2012|
|ESPN||$1.1 billion||$175 million*||N/A|
|DirecTV||$700 million||$750 million**||N/A|
|Total||$3.785 billion||$3.575 billion|
*Also receives fees from cable subscription fees.
**Subscription fees from NFL Sunday Ticket.
What do the networks receive for spending the money to broadcast the games? Some of the most highly watched programs every week, which allows the broadcast companies to sell lucrative advertising slots. In the case of DirecTV, Sunday Ticket allows the company to sell the prospect of being able to view every Sunday afternoon football game, a package that no other provider can offer. This advantage provided a unique opportunity to attract new customers, as DirecTV began offering free NFL Sunday Ticket to new customers who signed up before the start of the football season.
The true prize of these deals is the Super Bowl. In fact, with 21 of the top 46 television broadcasts of all time, the Super Bowl is particularly lucrative for the network broadcasting it. For example, the recent Super Bowl featured more than 40 commercials that cost up to $3 million for 30-second spots. With the "Big Game" alternating among NBC, CBS, and Fox from year to year, they all have a chance to cash in on the game.
The NFL in other media
Beyond Sirius XM, Verizon
The NFL is also present in one of the biggest-selling video game series of all time, with Electronic Arts
Are you ready for some football?
The companies that partner with the NFL are diverse, with other revenue sources beyond the league. Whether you're watching games this fall at home or from your favorite casual dining establishment, one of these companies will be providing you the with what you need to enjoy the product.
Comment below with your Super Bowl picks this year, or add these companies to My Watchlist.
Fool contributor Robert Eberhard will try to catch as many Patriots games as possible this year but owns no shares in any company mentioned here. Follow him on Twitter, where he goes by @GuruEbby. The Motley Fool owns shares of Take-Two Interactive Software. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Walt Disney and Take-Two Interactive Software. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.