The National Football League extended Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract through the 2018 season, the league said today in a statement.
The NFL’s 32 teams unanimously endorsed an extension for Goodell at meetings last month. The contract announced today expires on March 31, 2019, and is the third for Goodell, who was hired as commissioner in 2006 after Paul Tagliabue retired.
The NFL is the most-watched sport in the U.S. and drew the nation’s biggest television audience with last year’s Super Bowl championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Since becoming commissioner in 2006, the NFL -- already the leader in professional sports -- has gotten even stronger,” Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and chairman of the NFL Compensation Committee, said in the statement.
In recent months, Goodell, 52, oversaw the end of a four-month players lockout with a 10-year collective bargaining agreement and the renewal of the league’s television contracts with 60 percent revenue increases. The league also strengthened its anti-steroid policy and implemented new player-safety rules.
“It is a privilege for me to serve the NFL,” said Goodell, who first worked for the league in 1982 as an intern. “It is the only place I have ever wanted to work.”
In July, the League and its players union signed a 10-year labor agreement, ending a lockout that resulted in the cancellation of one preseason game and delayed the start of some training camps. The contract, the longest in the history of major American professional sports, detailed how to divide a projected $9.3 billion in league revenue and addressed issues including player-safety and a rookie wage scale.
In September, the league extended its broadcast agreement with Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in an eight-year deal valued at roughly $15.2 billion, according to the New York Times.
That was followed three months later by contract extensions with CBS Corp., News Corp.’s Fox unit and Comcast Corp.’s NBC. Those extensions, all for nine years, will give the league a 60 percent rights-fee increase to stay on broadcast television through the 2022 season.
Last year’s Super Bowl averaged 111 million viewers, making it the most-watched television event in U.S. history. During the current television season, 23 of the 25 most-watched programs were NFL games, according to the release.
“I am eagerly looking ahead to the challenge of building on our momentum and doing all we can to improve our game for the fans and everyone that is part of our league,” Goodell said.
A native of Jamestown, New York, Goodell worked as an intern with the New York Jets in 1983 and returned to the league the following year as an assistant in the public relations department. He held senior positions under Tagliabue before being named executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2001.
Goodell’s father, Charles Goodell, was a U.S. representative from New York who was appointed to the Senate in 1969 to complete the term of the late Robert F. Kennedy.