Bloomberg News

CBS’s Moonves Sees Higher Cost for NFL Games in Rights Renewal

December 07, 2011

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- CBS Corp., owner of the most-watched U.S. television network, expects to pay more to air National Football League games under new agreements being negotiated by broadcasters.

“We’re aware if a new deal gets made, when it gets made, the price of poker is going up, it should go up,” Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said today at a UBS investor conference in New York. “Even a bad football game out-rates most programming.”

CBS will make money with any new NFL contract, Moonves said, without providing specifics. CBS, News Corp.’s Fox and Comcast Corp.’s NBC are near a $24 billion agreement with the NFL to extend TV rights through 2021, a 60 percent hike in fees, Sports Business Journal reported on Dec. 5.

Higher sports fees are leading to unsustainable increases in cable bills, Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media Corp., and Viacom Inc. CEO Philippe Dauman said yesterday at the conference.

CBS gained 2.3 percent to $26.23 at 4 p.m. in New York trading. The shares have climbed 38 percent this year.

The NFL’s current contract with the three TV networks runs through 2013, Sports Business Journal reported. With the new contract, the networks also gain digital rights to put more programming online, according to the publication.

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN agreed to pay the NFL $1.9 billion a season, a 73 percent increase, through 2021 to air national match-ups on Monday nights, people with knowledge of the matter said in September.

--Editors: Anthony Palazzo, Rob Golum

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at

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