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CBS Makes Record Bid, Gains Rights to Televise NFL Games in 1964 and ‘65

Jan. 24, 1964 - CBS made a winning bid of $28.2 million today for television rights to regular season games of the NFL for 1964 and 1965. The figure is more than triple the $9.3 million CBS paid under a two-year contract that expired last month. ABC bid $26,106,000 and NBC $21.5 million. It was the first time the league had invited competitive bidding. The former contract with CBS had been established by negotiation.

The winning bid ran far ahead of most speculation in the television industry. One who expressed surprise was NFL commission Pete Rozelle (pictured today with CBS Sports president Bill MacPhail), who smiled as he said he had not expected the top bid to be as high as it was. Mr. Rozelle made the announcement in his office at league headquarters, 1 Rockefeller Plaza. The $14.1 million that CBS pays each year will be shared equally by the 14 teams in the league. The $1 million each receives will cover the team’s payroll, Mr. Rozelle said. When asked if it also represented a guarantee that no club would lose money, he said “for the time being, at least.”

During the regular season, there will be 17 football telecast dates — 14 on Sunday, one on Thanksgiving, and two on Saturday afternoons. On most Sunday afternoons, CBS will televise seven games on a regional basis. As in the past, the game will be blacked out in the city where it is played. Sponsors of last season’s NFL telecasts paid about $45,000 for each commercial minute. There was a report today that CBS might have to charge about $70,000 to cover the costs of next season’s telecasts. The NFL will put its championship game up for television bids in March or April. Last year, NBC made the winning bid of $926,000. Recently, NBC obtained T.V. rights to NCAA football games for the next two seasons for $13,044,000.



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