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Seven retains free-to-air NFL rights in Australia

Australian commercial broadcaster Seven has signed a new deal for free-to-air coverage of the NFL American football league.

The deal will cover the 2019-20 NFL season and provides Seven with rights to two live games each week during the regular season, as well as the play-offs and the Super Bowl. Games will be shown on Seven’s primary channel and via the 7Mate multi-channel service.

The agreement also includes digital rights such as highlights, video-on-demand content and simulcasts on 7plus and 7NEWS.com.au. Behind-the-scenes NFL programming will be made available on 7Mate.

Seven first acquired free-to-air rights to the NFL ahead of the 2014-15 season. Its previous deal, which allowed the broadcaster to show three back-to-back Sunday games per week on 7Mate, had expired following the 2018-19 campaign.

Seven’s Monday-afternoon coverage of this year’s Super Bowl attracted a metropolitan audience of 234,000 viewers, which represented a drop on previous years as Test cricket was also being shown on the main Seven channel at the same time.

Seven’s new deal comes after sports broadcaster ESPN last week struck an expanded rights agreement in Australia and New Zealand for the NFL. ESPN will air 110 live games during the new season, including 90 regular-season fixtures, all post-season games, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

ESPN will show 36 more live games than it did last season, with five games to air each week during the regular season. ESPN’s coverage will include two Sunday-afternoon games, Sunday, Monday and Thursday Night Football, and all Thanksgiving games.

Seven’s NFL coverage will begin on Monday morning local time with the Jacksonville Jaguars vs the Kansas City Chiefs.