Rashard Higgins #82 of the Cleveland Browns goes to stiff arm Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Nic Antaya | Getty Images
The National Football League made it official on Tuesday, adding another game to its regular-season schedule.
Team owners voted in favor of the NFL expanding to 17 games starting with the 2021 season. The NFL had played a 16-game schedule since 1978 when it added two additional games. Then, the league removed two of its preseason games and will do something similar this time.
The NFL Players Association agreed to add another game when it reached its new 10-year collective bargaining agreement last year. As part of the added contest, the NFL will reduce its preseason from four to three games.
The NFL recently agreed to a new 11-year media rights agreement with media partners worth more than $100 billion. As part of its new $2.7 billion rights fee, Disney‘s ABC network will carry two Saturday games in Week 18. The network will receive a new divisional round playoff contest too.
With a 17th game and reformatted playoff tournament, networks will benefit from the added content to help pay for the doubled rights fees.
Advertising data firm MediaRadar estimated Fox alone generated approximately $2 billion in national advertising for its 2020 NFL games. The firm estimated the average ad spend around NFL games last season accounted for $15.23 million per contest. Hence, that ad revenue should increase with more games on the NFL’s lineup.
The NFL also approved expanding its global games.
Each team will play at least once in the international series over the next eight years and the NFL will play four games per year in that span.
NFL owners will vote Wednesday on guidelines around club marketing internationally which will allow teams to leverage their intellectual property outside the U.S.