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NFL will be back at table for next TV deals sooner than most realize

Mike Florio and Chris Simms unpack the league’s decision to pass flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football during Weeks 13-17 by a vote of 24-8, as long as there’s a 28-day advance notice.

The NFL’s new wave of TV deals officially start in 2023. Often, media reports on the subject will mention that they run through 2033.

They do. And they don’t.

The NFL has a one-way out after seven of 11 seasons. That gives the league the unilateral ability to pull the plug and return to the table -- on any, some, all, or none of the TV deals.

Those seven years will fly by. And the world of broadcasting will keep changing, dramatically, between now and then.

As explained last night, recent changes to the Thursday night package aren’t about the company that currently holds those rights but the next contract for those rights. And for other streaming packages that will be sold to TV networks and/or streaming platforms.

The league wants and needs to have everyone at the table in 2029, if they pull the plug on one or more of the TV packages and put them out to bid. CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, TNT, Amazon, Peacock, YouTube, Netflix, Disney, Hulu, whoever.

The league surely wants to take another bite at the multi-billion-dollar apple four years early. They’ll do it if they can get more than they’re due to receive. The next seven years will be about laying the foundation for that final outcome, starting with the Thursday night overhaul that happened in March and earlier this week.