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New CBS NFL Deal After Skydance Paramount Merger Remains in Play

New CBS NFL Deal After Skydance Paramount Merger Remains in Play

Could Skydance’s $8 billion takeover of Paramount Global trigger a renegotiation between the NFL and CBS? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not dismiss the possibility when asked about it Thursday morning.

Speaking to CNBC at Allen & Co.’s conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Goodell was asked about the deal, which will see David Ellison’s studio take over Paramount, which owns CBS.

“[CBS has been] a great partner, we’re obviously paying close attention to the process,” Goodell said when asked directly if the league would try to renegotiate its deal. “We know Skydance. We’re partners with Skydance [in Skydance Sports], they’ve done a terrific job with our relationship. So we’ll look at the structure of the deal, we’ll see how it impacts us, we’ll see how it impacts our business, and we’ll make the best decision for the NFL at that point.”

Goodell added, however, that the league has tried to keep its games on free over-the-air TV, and CBS is a valuable part of that process, noting that the league has had games on the network going back to 1956.

“A lot of our media is not about the dollars as much as it is how do we reach more fans? That’s the primary objective for us,” he said. “Obviously, we want to be paid fairly, but for us, it’s about reaching fans, and being on a free platform like we are, allows our fans to see that, and I think that’s what’s led to not only popularity of the league, but obviously the great ratings.”

It’s a theme that Goodell emphasized in a cover story with The Hollywood Reporter last year, with the league attempting to be accessible to as many people as possible, through broadcast TV and streaming.

Goodell was asked about the Netflix deal for Christmas Day games, and what it means for the league.

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“Netflix has close to 300 million subscribers on a global basis, which was really attractive for us in being able to reach that global fan,” Goodell said. “I think they’re going to take this, they’ll globalize it, they’ll put, you know, a Netflix twist to it, and I think it will be great for the fans.”

And, of course, the commissioner was asked about the stunning $4.7 billion verdict in the NFL Sunday Ticket antitrust case.

“We obviously disagree with the jury verdict, and we are committed, obviously, to following the legal process,” Goodell said. “It’s a long process. We’re aware of that, but we feel very strongly about our position, our policies, particularly on media, that we make our sport available to the broadest possible audience. Sunday Ticket is just a complementary product, so we’re committed to following litigation and all the way and making sure that we get this right.”

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