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How NBC joined the USFL lineup

By John Ourand

Fox Sports and NBC Sports Group had spent months trying to set up a partnership for the USFL, the Fox-owned spring football league that is launching in April.

 

Fox was interested in bringing another media company on board to give the new league some credibility. Fox thought its 2020 XFL partnership with ESPN worked well, and it was open to bringing in another media partner for the USFL.

“The conversation started with their desire to re-imagine the USFL,” said NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua. “We started an analysis on our part and spent several months hammering out the details and the vision. We’re really excited about the concept of spring football and doing it in partnership with Fox.”

NBC Sports executives liked the idea of starting the season in April, the week after the Masters. They liked the idea of putting games on three platforms: broadcast (NBC), cable (USA) and streaming (Peacock). And they liked the idea of being able to experiment with the production around those USFL games.

After months of negotiations, the two sides agreed to a three-year deal, which involves a rights fee, that was announced last week.

“People at that point in the calendar year are yearning for football,” Bevacqua said. “This is going to be a great, exciting product.”

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