FOX pays $3B for Thursday Night Football

CBS and NBC each paid $450 million for the previous two-year package.

Fox and the NFL have agreed to a five-year deal for Thursday night football games.

Those games previously were televised by CBS and NBC, two of the league’s other network partners. Fox announced Wednesday that it will televise 11 games between Weeks 4 and 15, with simulcasts on NFL Network and Fox Deportes.

Fox, which has the Sunday afternoon NFC package, will produce all of the games under the deal, which is worth a little more than $3 billion, according to a person with direct knowledge of the terms of the deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league didn’t announce its value.

“This is a single partner deal, we are not splitting the package,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a conference call. “We had tremendous amount of interest from all the broadcast partners, all of whom wanted it exclusively. We felt this was the best opportunity for the NFL to grow the Thursday night package.”

Goodell added that the league is exploring partnerships with digital outlets, also in conjunction with Fox.

The NFL has broadcast deals “five years out” with its other partners — ESPN has the Monday night package — so five years on this agreement made sense.

“Fundamentally, Fox was built on football,” said Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox, noting that 25 years ago, the NFC package “helped launch a fledgling network into what it is today.”

“These opportunities come along very, very infrequently,” he added. “You either have the rights to the most-watched content in media or you don’t. If you don’t take the opportunity, this won’t come up again for five years. We believe in buying the very best rights, and the best rights are the NFL.”

CBS and NBC each paid $450 million for the previous two-year package.

“We explored a responsible bid for Thursday Night Football but in the end are very pleased to return to entertainment programming on television’s biggest night,” CBS said in a statement. “At the same time, we look forward to continuing our terrific long-term partnership with the NFL on Sunday afternoons, with more than 100 games per season including next year’s Super Bowl 53.”

Fox could have a conflict if weather causes a World Series game to be postponed from Wednesday to Thursday. In recent years, Series Game 2 and 6 have been scheduled for Wednesday.

“In that hypothetical kind of a scenario, the World Series game would stay on Fox and our Thursday night game would become an FS1/NFL simulcast,” Fox spokesman Eddie Motl said.

Goodell noted that the Thursday night games are a place for innovation.

“One of the things we’ve taken into consideration with Thursday night in general is to evolve this package, to use it as an opportunity to learn, to understand where these various platforms are going, and what we can do to make it a more attractive experience for our fans,” he said. “We will look at that in that context, and the term will be consistent with what it will take to make sure that we continue to evolve that platform as well as the experience for our fans.”

That means streaming outlets, of course.

“We have accepted bids for digital partners,” Goodell said. “We have very healthy competition. In fact, I would say it’s unprecedented competition from a number of digital partners.

“As I say, we put our focus on the broadcast package first. … We are not required to go coterminous with the broadcasts. We can do any length of deal that we get to an agreement on with that digital partner. As I mentioned earlier, we will be doing this in co-operation with our Fox partners.”

___

Barry Wilner, The Associated Press

Just Posted

SUV smashes into deck in Anders

Red Deer RCMP believe driver experienced medical incident

Riggers hosting home tournament this weekend

Riggers looking to round into form heading in playoffs

Westerner Days kicks off this week

Lots to see and do for the whole family

Bucs’ continue to power through AFL

67-0 win over Grand Prairie pushes Bucs’ towards showdown with Ft. Mac

Niek Theelen continues to build his comedian career

Engaging performer is a popular draw across the region

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Storm rips through Central Alberta

Hail pelts region causing damage to farmland, plus communities in Ponoka, Bashaw and Stettler

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Hundreds of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

Out of 1,773 glaciers, 1,353 shrank significantly between 2000 and 2016

Indigenous housing providers worried Liberal proposals could put families on the streets

Indigenous housing providers raise alarms about future of federal funding deals

Most Read