Posted January 12, 2014

NFL looking to sell part of Thursday night broadcast schedule, per report

NFL media
Another network could host a portion of Thursday night games starting in 2014.

Another network could host a portion of Thursday night games starting in 2014. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The NFL Network’s monopoly on Thursday night football may come to an end beginning next season. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported that the NFL has begun shopping a one-year contract for its midweek game, and that the NFL Network is expected to split the Thursday night schedule with a second network.

Ourand mentioned Turner, FOX (and possibly the new FOX Sports 1) and NBC as the potential frontrunners. This season, there were 13 games broadcast under the “Thursday Night Football” banner, spanning Weeks 2 through 15. The Week 1 season-opener aired on NBC; the league’s three-game Thanksgiving Day slate was split across three other networks; and there are no Thursday nighters in Weeks 16 or 17.

Per CBS’ Jason La Canfora, the league is looking for a bid in the neighborhood of $800 million for some unannounced portion of the Thursday night calendar.

Added La Canfora: “This has always been the plan: to use the full-season package to get higher carriage fees and get on Time Warner Cable, then sell off half the package.”

The league announced in December that this season’s set of Thursday night games broke its previous viewership record — the average audience of eight million people per game was 10 percent higher than in 2012. The Week 3 matchup between Kansas City and Philadelphia stood as the highest-rated “Thursday Night Football” broadcast in the eight-year history of the NFL Network’s event.

Earlier this season, the Wall Street Journal reported that the league may explore adding a second Thursday game per week, with Netflix mentioned among the possible broadcast partners there. That development does not appear to be included as part of the potential upcoming change.

21 comments
baruchatta
baruchatta

18 game season - make it 36 weeks!

The NFL wants an 18 game season.  But, it's a very valid issue today about injuries. The play today is rougher, the men larger, the game more physical. 
Therefore here is a deal. 
1. There will be 18 games per season. 
2. However, there will be a by week between each game. Each team will play every other week instead of every week. Players will have two weeks to rest and recover. 
3. There will be two leagues, the red league and the blue league. Red will play week A, blue will play week B, and so on. Every 6 games, the red and blue will be redistributed, so each team will play each other team. 
4. So the season will last 36 weeks. 
5. So there will be a Monday night, Thursday night, Sunday night game for 36 weeks, not just 18. Win win for the owners and TV. Weekend games for 36 weeks too. Win win for the owners and TV. Fans get to see much more football over a longer season. 
6. I love it!

JohnFerguson
JohnFerguson

Thursday Night Football is frequently terrible because the teams have only a couple days to prepare for the game and for the players to recover from the games on the previous Sunday.  

Bob_from_Accounting
Bob_from_Accounting

I'd really rather have Tuesday Night football to end the week than Thursday Night Football to start it.


I think it's better for the players, too - they have a short week after a long week, rather than a short week before a long week.  And it's five days from Tuesday - Sunday, one more than the four days from Sunday to Thursday.

AF Whigs
AF Whigs

While it's natural for the NFL to want to look to expand their hold on the average NFL fan's life, TNF is an experiment that just doesn't work - as others have already noted in the comments.  It has a negative impact on a brutal game where players need as much rest as possible between contests.


Thursday football really only works on Thanksgiving Day.  Otherwise people only watch if it's their team, because they never have the premier matchups on Thursdays.


The only logical day to expand to, to me, is Saturday.  Sure, there's competition with the NCAA, but what about having the Saturday NFL game in the early evening instead of primetime?  5pm?  6pm?  Nah.  They'd only want primetime.  I don't know.  Just keep it on Sunday, Sunday night and MNF.

PurpleCity52
PurpleCity52

I rather see a Monday double-header than one Thursday night game. As said below we grew up watching MNF so enhance that and do away with TNF

Montana410
Montana410

A second Thursday night game, no way. Just end the ridiculous Thursday night games. The players dont like it and a lot of fans dont like it. I guess the NFL forgets some of us have to work the next day. Monday Night, okay, grew up with that. Then Sunday Night, okay. Thursday night has always been a pain.

DanLeeper
DanLeeper

Pay for view? are you nuts? with what the NFL is taking in? I say call it the great Thursday night black out.Don't pay don't watch, boycott it and see how long that lasts.And if you pay for the Thursday night games the pay for the super bowl will soon follow. The Greed just won't end.

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Greed, greed and more greed... Lets not take into account the players who have such a quick turnaround from a sunday game to a thursday game and the toll that takes on their bodies. For all the rules, football is still a brutal game where a five to six day window is needed to recover from game to game. More injuries that will lead to more arguments about safety that will eventually lead to not having the game of football as we know it today in the future.

NebojsaTodorovic
NebojsaTodorovic

I wish they'd go for Saturday instead of Thursday, like others have said watching on Thursday night is usually limited to only my team.  I understand there is college competition, but I'd rather watch NFL than the college hoax.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

There is a game on Thursday? I don't watch the NFL network, don't want to and other than when the Broncos have to play a Thursday game never will watch that evening. It will be interesting to see if there is a TV executive desperate enough to pay $100 million per game to reach 8 million viewers. They could just mail out $15 checks to everyone who will tune in their network that night.

trbmb
trbmb

Why stop there with the holy NFL.    Let's play all year, 52 weeks,  and televise a game every night.

MichaelUrciolo1
MichaelUrciolo1

You figure they're doing this for the revenue. My only thought on it - skip the first Thursday prior to the opening weekends. Those of us who love the game don't one straggler on Thursday night. Let the first weekend consist of Sunday games (with MNF of course), and then you can put in the Thursday games.


Remember when they had 31 teams in the league for a year or two - on opening weekend, one unlucky team had to sit it out while the other 30 played.

justsomeguy
justsomeguy

Wow...they put games on the network to convince people to buy into it, then take that content away and sell it somewhere else once they've got your money.  On a completely unrelated note, cable providers keep wondering why they are losing subscribers.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

The NFL has just surpassed the NCAA and obtained the title of "Biggest Money Whor/e on the Planet"

villepeople
villepeople

The quality of play on Thursdays was terrible so lets add more games!!!!

geewhiz
geewhiz

TNF blows.  Most of the matchups are garbage, and watching football on a Thurs is whack.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

"NFL Realizes That Even Football Fans Aren't Crazy Enough to Pay for a Premium Cable Channel for the One Thursday Game They Care About Per Season."

davetheG
davetheG

I hate Thurs. games. I like football on Sunday and Monday night. Thurs games throws off schedules because teams get a short week then a LONG week of rest. Plus you then have less teams playing on Sunday.

donald5
donald5

@Voiceover310 @geewhiz Well putting Justin Beiber on as a sideline reporter might increase viewership from the teenage girl demographic and would technically "work for the NFL".  Would you refrain from complaining?