Fox signs five-year deal to air Thursday night NFL


The Thursday contests have grown from a handful of late season events shown on the NFL Network to a full season of games, becoming one of the most popular shows on broadcast television.

Regardless the ramifications for Fox's live sports content budget and Thursday night ratings, the network seems exceedingly pleased to be in deeper with the NFL.

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

The agreement awards FOX Sports with a 5 year deal that includes 11 games between weeks 4-15. The deal comes at a time when Fox's broadcast network is getting ready to separate from a wide variety of other entertainment assets now owned by parent company 21st Century Fox, the bulk of which are in the process of being sold to Walt Disney.

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"We will continue to work with the NFLPA to make the shorter week more attractive in a way that is better for our players", Goodell said. While there is little doubt that big tech players are going to start bidding more aggressively for rights, as YouTube did with MLS, with the biggest sports locked into TV deals for years to come, it is unlikely sports fans will be able to completely cut the cord anytime soon.

Fox is to carry 11 "TNF" games, which will be simulcast on the NFL Network and on a yet-to-be-named digital platform.

When Fox outbid CBS in 1993 for the NFC package of games, critics and competitors wondered the same thing.

CBS paid $37.5 million per game for eight games during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. "Thursday Night Football" declined a whopping 20.6 percent on NBC from last season. Logically, it would stand that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would get the call as part of FOX's No. 1 crew, but it is possible they could experiment throughout the year with different combinations. Per Sports Business Daily, CBS and NBC submitted bids that were smaller than their current deals. Furthermore, NBC's Sunday Night Football was #1 in primetime this fall for the seventh consecutive year. NBC will continue to air the season-opening Thursday night game and the Thanksgiving night game. In other words, this deal kind of covers the worst parts of the National Football League season. Calling TNF would give Johnson and Klatt the rare Thursday/Saturday night double, and would certainly raise their profile, but would having the duo split their attention between the NFL and college football diminish their quality?