Walt Disney Co. In Talks With NFL For Potential ESPN Stake – Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS)

Walt Disney Co. and the National Football League (NFL) are reportedly in serious discussions over a potential deal that could see the NFL acquire a stake in ESPN, according to sources. This move is seen as a significant strategic move for both organizations.

In addition to the potential stake, the NFL’s media unit could also come under Disney’s control. This agreement would strengthen Disney’s ties with the NFL, reducing the likelihood of Disney losing crucial sports rights for highly-rated football games. It could also bring NFL assets like the NFL Network and RedZone under Disney’s umbrella.

The discussions, which were first reported by The New York Post and The Atlantic, have not been confirmed by either Disney or the NFL. However, Disney has been actively seeking partners for ESPN to counter falling affiliate revenue from cable distribution. Sports leagues, including the NFL, have a vested interest in ESPN’s success and are among the entities Disney has approached.

While the deal is not yet finalized, it would require approval from NFL owners in a meeting scheduled for mid-Spring. If successful, it could have significant effects on a range of sports entities. This includes the potential addition of NFL Network to ESPN’s sports content and the possibility of moving NFL RedZone to ESPN+.

These discussions come as Disney and ESPN have been making efforts to strengthen their position among NFL executives. This has included simulcasting “Monday Night Football” games on ABC and enticing star announcers from Fox Sports.

Overall, this potential deal between Walt Disney Co. and the NFL could have far-reaching implications for both organizations and the sports media landscape. It would solidify Disney’s association with the NFL and secure crucial sports rights, while also potentially expanding the reach of ESPN’s sports content. As the discussions continue, industry watchers will be eagerly awaiting further developments.

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