Apr 05, 2021
By Kelby Clark
Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, discusses how the company’s recent deal with the NFL positions ViacomCBS at the forefront of the future of live sports.
On March 24, ViacomCBS announced a new rights renewal that extends and expands its partnership with the NFL through the 2033 season.
As part of the deal, all games broadcast on the CBS Television Network will also be available on Paramount+. As audiences demand more live sports content, the deal also includes an extensive grant of rights across ViacomCBS networks, properties, and platforms including the capability to collaborate with the NFL to create alternate game telecasts and more.
“The beauty of this deal is that it is not just a CBS broadcasting deal—it's a ViacomCBS deal,” says Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “We have the rights to utilize whatever device is out there and whatever platform people prefer. As the television world continues to change, fans will be able to watch the NFL on CBS however they want.”
In addition, the new agreement ensures CBS Sports will remain the home of the American Football Conference (AFC), which consists of a full slate of regular season and playoff games each year, including the AFC Championship, as well as a Divisional game and a Wild Card game. ViacomCBS also secured rights to three Super Bowls, including the first of the new deal, plus, additional Wild Card games in the 2024, 2029 and 2033 seasons.
ViacomCBS and the NFL have also agreed to long-term rights extensions for ad-supported, free streamer Pluto TV, as well as CBS Sports HQ and Inside The NFL, which begins streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in 2021.
The ViacomCBS Newsroom spoke to McManus about the negotiation process, how the NFL fits into the company’s live sports offering, and why coverage of the league will drive growth on Paramount+.
"We're really a full service promotional operation for the NFL. They want to reach new audiences, they want to reach more diverse audiences, and there's no better way to do that than on the ViacomCBS platforms."
" [The NFL] is the most valuable and widely viewed programming in all of media, and it’s going to be an incredibly vital part of Paramount+ going forward."