Fox Swipes Up NFL's 'Thursday Night Football' Package With Five-Year Deal

Thursday Night Football is likely heading to Fox in 2018. More
Thursday Night Football is likely heading to Fox in 2018. More

01 February, 2018

Fox will be the new home of "Thursday Night Football" starting in 2018, as part of a five-year deal set to be announced on Wednesday, Sports Business Daily reported. FOX Sports will broadcast 11 Thursday night games per season, ranging from Week 4 to 15.

The NFL originally brought the games to CBS for a two-year deal that called for them to be simulcast with the NFL Network.

Speaking of Disney, the Mouse's broadcasting arm, ABC, ultimately decided against making a bid for the rights to the revenue-shredding "Thursday Night Football" package. back in November, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus suggested that the network's Thursday night commitment was losing its luster, noting that the additional primetime games seemed to be contributing to the dilution of enthusiasm for the traditional Sunday broadcasts.

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Fox will replace CBS and NBC as the TNF broadcaster in the five-year deal.

"NFL football continues to be the most valuable commodity in all of media", 21st Century Fox President Peter Rice said. The two networks paid the same amount for the rights in the 2016-2017 season as well. Goodell said this will be done in the next couple of weeks, in partnership with Fox, and the league has seen "unprecedented competition" in this area.

As Variety pointed out, 21st Century Fox's live programming is depleted after the sale to Disney, so Thursday Night Football makes for a key addition. NBC's Thursday night games ranked fifth. "Hard to recover in four days". NBC's "Sunday Night Football" was the top-rated prime-time program past year, according to Nielsen, although it, too, suffered a ratings decline; and 37 of the 50 most-watched programs in 2017 were NFL games, per the Los Angeles Times. Despite the ratings dip, Nielsen data recently showed that National Football League games contributed 20 of the top 30 highest-rated TV programs of 2017. Despite the drop in NFL ratings, Nielsen data shows that the 20 of the 30 highest-rated shows on television in 2017 were football games. Twitter and Amazon have each previously streamed Thursday games. It now pays $1.1 billion a year to broadcast those games through the 2022 season.

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