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NFL Considering Possible Partner For NFL Network, NFL RedZone, Digital Properties

Michael King

The NFL says it is examining options regarding its media properties, according to the Wall Street Journal — this may include the possibility of selling stakes in those properties to strategic partners.

According to the league, it is looking seriously at partnerships for the properties — which include its pay television channels, NFL Network and NFL RedZone, as well as its online portal, NFL.com.

The decision, the Journal article says, is based on a belief by the league that its holdings will benefit from an alignment with bigger media and technology companies, rather than remaining stand-alone operations. League and team officials emphasized that they are not looking to sell the networks, and pointed out that the NFL will maintain control of them.

In a letter to team owners, the league said it is aiming to create “an even more dynamic media asset that extends reach and engagement and creates additional value for the clubs — including through direct-to-consumer opportunities, new and innovative content and formats, and international expansion.”

In a similar turn of events, although the NBA operated NBA TV from its inception in 1999, Turner Sports has operated and maintained the on-air presence for NBA TV since 2008. Instead of being operated from NBA headquarters in New Jersey, NBA TV is headquartered at Turner Sports’ main facility in Atlanta. Likewise, Disney Streaming Services operates the digital presence for both MLB and the NHL.

As the whole world of communications and digital media changes, we want to find a partner who can further help us maximize the reach and potential the NFL assets represent,” said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in an interview, according to the Journal.

In a memo to staff, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL has “a number of rights and assets to support the future growth of our business,” including live games, tentpole events including the NFL Draft, and other opportunities that include legalized sports betting.

Goodell said there is no timeframe on finding a potential partner and that the process would likely run into and potentially through the upcoming NFL season.

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