Disney Reportedly in Talks To Take Control of NFL in Multi-Billion Dollar Deal

in Disney, Television, Updates

The NFL logo with Mickey Muse and Monday Night Football logo

Credit: NFL/Disney/ESPN

The Walt Disney Company and the NFL are deep into talks to build a deal that would potentially give the House of Mouse control over one of the world’s biggest sports organizations. If successful, as published by GuruFocus via Yahoo! Finance, “..it [ESPN] can become the main network for the NFL by giving the league an equity stake in it, then it could cement itself as the most important sports property in the sports transition to streaming services.”

Monday Night Football logo
Credit: ESPN

Multiple sources report that Disney and the NFL are looking to form a partnership in which the National Football League would receive a stake in the Disney-owned ESPN, while the iconic entertainment company could take control NFL Media, giving it a huge boost of revenue in dire financial times (per Variety).

Related: Billionaire Investor Wants To Force Disney To Give Up ESPN

While both Disney and the NFL are staying quiet on the issue, a new partnership between the two mega-companies would have a massive effect on the media landscape. The two companies already work together on multiple levels, primarily to broadcast football games and commentary programs on ESPN and ABC, but potentially giving Disney unprecedented access to one of the most popular sports franchises would be huge.

Disney Bundle, Hulu in question.
Credit: Disney

Currently, the NFL is broadcast over seven different partners, including ESPN/ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Prime Video, and its own NFL Network. A deal to make Disney the primary (if not only) media group associated with the NFL would direct an enormous amount of ad revenue and audience numbers away from its primary rivals. The NFL already allowed Disney the rights to broadcast Monday Night Football on ESPN and ABC during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, indicating the connections between the two companies are growing.

Related: Disney President Claims More Disney+ Subscribers Want Ads

Bob Iger sitting alongside ESPN and Disney+ logos
Credit: Masterclass/Inside the Magic

It is also notable that Disney CEO Bob Iger has been vocal in promoting ESPN as one of the primary revenue sources for the future. Iger spearheaded adding sports gambling to the family-friendly Disney brand, and seems extremely eager to develop a single streaming app that can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ in one single (likely very expensive package). If the NFL can be persuaded to allow ESPN+ to become the primary venue for streaming football, this could be a whole new direction for Disney.

Inside the Magic reached out to Disney for comment, but has not heard back by the time of publishing.

Do you think Disney and the NFL should form a partnership? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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