Sunday Night Football extended until 2013

The NFL and NBC have extended the contract for Sunday Night Football until 2013. The original six year deal will now go two more years. This should be considered a big one for NBC, since the departure of NFL broadcaster John Madden, the future of Sunday Night football was anything but guaranteed.

NBC will now have the broadcast rights for 16 regular season Sunday Night games, both Saturday Wild Card Round games and the Thursday night game that traditionally kicks off the NFL season. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but whatever the price it is worth for NBC. In 2008 the Sunday night games were a ratings winner for the peacock network.

The new contract for Sunday Night football was approved by the NFL team’s at an ownership meeting in Chicago. One of the key points to this deal is the flexible scheduling allowed over the final seven weeks of the season. While the league will try to feature key games for Sunday night sometimes teams fail or other teams step up and need to be given a big national audience. Given the return of Brett Favre NBC might want to air a few key Minnesota Vikings games down the stretch to the NFL playoffs.

Since Monday Night Football has been moved to ESPN, and there is still a good number of NFL fans without access to cable TV, having a national game on a generally strong TV night is of vital importance to the league.