ABC, CBS, Fox Broadcasting and ESPN will be paying a staggering $17.6 billion in television rights for professional football over the next eight years more than double what's being paid now. There is also a clause in the new deal that allows the NFL to reopen negotiations after five years and get even more money. With such historic dollars being paid, the Business Journal asks:

Are the TV networks paying too much to televise professional football?

Warren Woo

managing director, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette

Probably not. It is difficult to analyze the intangible impact football has for a network. When Fox got into football, everyone said they paid too much, but now the network is coming close to overtaking ABC. It is difficult to tell how much of an impact football had for Fox. It is immeasurable. ABC obviously felt that it couldn't lose Monday night football and CBS felt it had to get it back. It is easy to look at the numbers and say they paid too much. But there are too many intangibles that go beyond just the numbers.

Ciji Ware

historical novelist, author of "A Cottage By the Sea"

Yes. The money they are spending on football sure could put Rwanda in good shape. I suppose it gets people into the network tent for other shows, but those numbers are just like monopoly money. Ultimately it seems pretty excessive and kind of crazy. I loved watching football during the playoffs, but it sure sounds like a lot of money for me.

Doug Bruckner

correspondent,"Hard Copy."

No. When even a woman I am dating knew the point spread on the San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers game, I was convinced of the NFL's special power.

Anne Gilbar

editor-in-chief, Live magazine

It's all a question of marketing and image. I can't imagine they are going to make a penny on that kind of investment. They should put their money in the stock market for a better return.

Alicia Kaye,

owner, London Temporary Services

Ouch! It's absolutely unconscionable that anyone would pay that kind of money, especially since they are going to lose millions. It sure says a lot about how desperate the networks are and how bad most of their upcoming shows will be.

Lisa Specht:

attorney and partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

The numbers are huge. I'd rather see them donate some of the money to the Coliseum Commission and help us get pro football back in Los Angeles.

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