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USFL Nabs NBC Sports to Join FOX as Spring Football League’s Official Broadcast Partners

Jeff Kotuby

FOX’s USFL has added another high-profile media partner in its quest for legitimacy — NBC Sports.

Today, NBC announced it reached a “multi-year agreement” with the budding football league to “present the new league’s regular and postseason games beginning in April 2022.” Between FOX and NBC, all 43 games will air on broadcast television. NBC Sports will present 21 USFL games in 2022 across NBC (8), USA Network (9), and Peacock (4), while FOX will carry 22 games split between FOX (12) and FS1 (10).

“We’re excited to partner with the USFL and FOX Sports to present this new era of professional football,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports. “With our multiple platforms across broadcast, cable, and streaming, football fans throughout the country will be able to experience the USFL’s opening season this spring.”

Just last week, FOX CFO Steven Tomsic finally offered some insight into what the USFL has planned for the future after months of darkness. We think that there is absolute consumer demand for spring league,” Tomsic said. “It’s not meant to be a competitor to the NFL obviously, but it serves a few purposes for us.” Tomsic went on to say that the USFL will function as a spring sporting property that they own, which they can then cross-promote on other programs as well as their betting arm, FOX Bet.

It’s been seen that live sports are the only type of programming that viewers are tuning into these days. According to ESPN, 95 of the top 100 broadcasts of 2021 were sports-related, so obviously media entities are looking for more live sports where they can find it. This even includes FOX going so far as to re-launch the USFL for, among other things, live sports to broadcast on its networks.

NBC makes sense as a partner because it now has an NHL-sized hole in its live programming. The longtime home to hockey lost the NHL rights at the conclusion of last season and would love to add something to that spot. Spring football makes a lot of sense if done properly.

“We’re thrilled to have NBC Sports join FOX Sports as an official media partner of the new USFL,” said FOX Sports CEO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks, who will serve as Chairman of the USFL’s Board of Directors. “Like FOX, NBC has a reputation for excellence in football production, and the exposure both companies have committed to the USFL, including a combined 20 games on broadcast television, will provide fans unprecedented access all season long.”

Barring any future setbacks, the USFL is slated to kick off next April.