NFL Media Sales Looking Good for 2010-2011 Season

By Alex Weprin Comment

Good news for the networks that televise NFL games: it looks like the 2010-2011 season will be a major step up from last season in terms of revenue.

At a press conference earlier this week, CBS news & sports president Sean McManus and CBS executive VP of sports sales John Bogusz said that the market for this season is strong.

“Like all television networks we went through a pretty tough time when the economy had its problems a year and a half ago, but I am pleased to say that the sports business right now, the NFL, college football, golf, tennis and college basketball are all really strong,” McManus said. “I feel good about where we are from a business standpoint and I couldn’t be prouder of the job that we did last year with the NFL.”

Bogusz said that many advertisers that have cut back since the economy soured are beginning to return, particularly in automotive, which is a key category for sports programming.

“Last year Chrysler fell out, Toyota fell off of us, though they were still in the marketplace, and GM at this time last year was a big question mark, although they did come in and spend a fair amount of money,” Bogusz said. “All three of those are already back, along with significant activity from all the imports, along with Ford.”

The telecom and insurance categories have also been up this season.

McManus says that the stability of the NFL, its ability to reliably deliver strong ratings game after game, is a key part of the turnaround.

“When you look at the ratings for NFL football, and not just on CBS, when you look at the preseason ratings on primetime on NBC this year, or on ESPN, the ratings are terrific,” he said. ” If you look at the TV landscape, if you had to pick the one property that you were going to put some money on in terms of stability and guaranteeing year after year that the numbers would be there, I think you would probably pick the NFL.”