NFL logo Jan 6, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General overall view of the NFL Shield logo at midfield during the NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL regular season wound up being quite the bounce-back one for networks. Following regular season ratings declines in 2016 and 2017 and a slight recovery last year, the league saw a further recovery this year. Earlier this week, we covered how ESPN’s Monday Night Football posted an eight percent year-over-year rise and its best numbers since 2015; the numbers are now in for CBS, Fox, and NBC, and they all also saw growth this year and the best numbers since 2015 (NBC) and 2016 (Fox and CBS).

NFL Network saw a decline for its games, but there weren’t a lot of those games relative to the other networks, so the overall picture is a rise:

That bodes very well for the NFL’s upcoming rights negotiations, which a network executive recently estimated could lead to annual revenues of $8-10 billion (up from the current $5.2 billion for broadcast/satellite deals, or $5.7 billion if you count streaming deals). And that’s especially true with respect to the rest of TV, which continues to struggle relative to sports. The NFL’s an area of TV where there’s still not only a big audience, but an audience that watches live (and thus views commercials).

Beyond the revenue from running external ads, having NFL games can be vital in carriage negotiations (something we saw ratchet up this year) and in promoting the rest of your network’s programming. With NFL ratings on the rise again this year, the league’s perceived value is in good shape heading into these rights talks.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.