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Covington Advises NFL With Long-Term Television Packages

April 19, 2005

Negotiations Culminate in NBC Return to NFL Broadcaster Lineup; Monday Night Football Moving to ESPN with Earlier Kickoff; Sunday Afternoon Partners CBS and FOX Renewing Agreements

Washington, DC, April 19, 2005 -- A team of Covington & Burling lawyers advised the NFL in the strategic planning, development, negotiation and implementation of the League's recently announced long-term agreements with NBC and ESPN for its Sunday night and Monday night television packages.

Covington's Sports Transactions and Media/Communications groups have been involved in the NFL's long-term strategic planning and negotiation process that culminated in the new agreements.  The firm's sports transaction and media/communications lawyers provided the League with a strategic assessment of the media and regulatory landscape, and provided detailed legal and strategic advice to League negotiators.  Covington continues to provide legal advice to the NFL in exploring alternatives for a potential new eight game, late season cable/satellite package of Thursday and Saturday night NFL games, and regularly represents the League on related television, radio, online and other new media matters.

In November, the League announced six-year extensions of their Sunday afternoon television packages with over-the-air broadcast partners CBS and FOX.  The NFL announced the agreements with NBC and ESPN late yesterday. 

"These agreements improve our television arrangements for fans," Commissioner Tagliabue said. "They underscore our unique commitment to broadcast television and our tradition of delivering our games to the widest possible audience." 

CBS and FOX will each televise two Super Bowls during the term of the agreements. CBS will carry Super Bowl XLI (41) in Miami in 2007 and Super Bowl XLIV (44) in 2010.  NBC also will televise two Super Bowls -- Super Bowl XLIII (43) in 2009 and Super Bowl XLVI (46) in 2012.   FOX will televise Super Bowl XLII (42) in Glendale, Arizona in 2008 and Super Bowl XLV (45) in 2011.

Sports Transactions group partners Doug Gibson and Bruce Wilson led the Covington team advising the NFL in the planning, development and implementation of the League's broadcast strategy, assisting the League in developing terms for the new broadcast packages.  Covington team members included long-time NFL advisor Gregg Levy, Media/Communications partners Jonathan Blake, Steve Weiswasser, Kurt Wimmer, and Jennifer Johnson, trademark special counsel Marie Lavalleye, communications special counsel Mary Newcomer Williams, and associates Emily Henn, John Madison, and Peter Zern.

Covington & Burling's Sports Transactions group is one of the preeminent sports advisory and transactions groups in the world.  Our lawyers provide legal advice to all four major leagues in the United States, as well as individual clubs, and ownership groups, stadium authorities, and a host of other national and international amateur athletic organizations.  Covington's Communications and Media group regularly represents some of the oldest, largest and most sophisticated global media, new media and telecommunications companies, and its lawyers are experienced in structuring and executing major media transactions.

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