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NBC-TV Obtains Five-Year Rights To AFL Games

Jan. 29, 1964 - NBC, an unsuccessful bidder last week for NFL games, obtained five-year television rights to AFL games for $36 million today. The contract becomes effective in 1965 and runs through 1969. This year’s AFL games will continue to be televised by ABC, whose contract expires at the end of the year. ABC will pay $2,350,000 for 1964, less than a third of the annual average of the NBC contract. Last month, NBC obtained television rights to NCAA football games in 1964 and 1965 for $13,044,000.

Negotiations for the AFL contract were completed early this morning by Carl Lindemann Jr., vice president of sports for NBC, and Joe Foss, commissioner of the AFL. Mr. Lindemann said his network intended to schedule telecasts of the games “to compete head-on” with the NFL games on CBS. Last season, about 6.2 million persons watched each telecast of AFL games, according to estimates by the A.C. Nielsen Company. The average audience for NFL telecasts was 15.1 million. ABC said it had not offered to renew its contract with the AFL because it did not want to tie itself to that league for five years. It wanted to be free, it said, to bid two years from now on the NFL games.

The AFL’s new television contract is a tremendous boon for the league, which has eight teams compared with the NFL’s 14 teams. Presumably, the new contract will eliminate rumors that the AFL might soon go out of business. “It means that everyone recognizes the AFL now has the stability that the league knew it had all the time,” an AFL spokesman said.


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