NFL fans left frustrated as new Broadcast Deals yet to be confirmed
Australian fans of American Football have been left to wait as negotiations continue to lock in broadcast deals for the upcoming NFL season.
TV Blackbox has been contacted by several confused fans, concerned at the lack of information regarding broadcast rights for the new season which commences in the US on the 6th of September.
As things currently stand, there will be no free-to-air coverage of the 2019-2020 NFL season. A four-year deal with the Seven Network expired earlier this year, and at this stage has not been renewed.
TV Blackbox understands negotiations are continuing between Seven and the NFL with a new deal still possible this week. A network spokesperson declined to comment on the potential of a new contract when contacted by TV Blackbox.
After signing a six-year deal to secure Australian cricket broadcast rights, Seven is under intense pressure to cut spending in other areas.
The network recently opted not to broadcast the World Swimming Championships and the World Athletic Championships due to rights fees. Both events should have been important lead-ups to the network's coverage of the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Seven had been broadcasting three NFL matches per week on the 7Mate channel, helping the sport to build a strong cult following in Australia. This year's Superbowl attracted a Monday afternoon metro audience of 234,000. That figure was down on past years due to the event being broadcast on 7Mate at the same time as Test Match cricket was airing on Seven's main channel.
ESPN is expected to broadcast an average of five matches per week into the Australian market via Foxtel, Kayo and Fetch platforms; however this cannot be confirmed until a final decision is made on the free-to-air component of the deal.