Fox Close to Deal to Air NFL's 'Thursday Night Football'

01 February, 2018, 00:38 | Author: Laura Christensen
  • Fox Close to Deal to Air NFL's 'Thursday Night Football'

The NFL's "Thursday Night Football" TV package will have a new home in 2018, moving from CBS and NBC to Fox, according to multiple reports.

Thursday night in particular has been a complicated affair since its 2014 broadcast debut, posting strong and consistent ratings but yielding few memorable games and contributing to the glut of games. Fox already airs Sunday NFC games.

The digital rights, last held by Amazon, still are up for grabs. In 2016 and 2017, the networks each paid $45 million per game, which pales compared to the $60-plus million Fox is reportedly set to pay.

The stock drop reflects skepticism about the long-term viability of the National Football League, whose total TV ratings have declined 17% in the past two years. Fox will air the Week 4 through Week 15 games, with the exception of Thanksgiving night.


Thursday Night Football offers fans less downtime from week to week in consuming football, though it has come with some criticism. The WSJ reports that an announcement could be made as early as Wednesday.

In picking up the rights to the second highest-rated program in primetime, Fox is on the hook to fork over some $600 million a year, or around $150 million more than CBS and NBC collectively paid out in each year of their joint contract with the league.

"NFL football continues to be the most valuable commodity in all of media", said Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox.

Fox Sports is one of the remaining pieces for 21st Century Fox after the company sold a good portion of its assets to Disney for $52.4 billion. The deal signals a renewed commitment toward the value of sports rights for Fox, as the company looks to venture forward focused on the Fox broadcast network and Fox Sports and News channels, which are not covered in the Disney deal. This season's broadcasts have faced ongoing viewer dissatisfaction with anthem protests by players as well as a flood of games on the schedule, something even Fox executives had previously criticized.

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