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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also reported another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Kelowna’s Fall Activity Guide now available online

COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols will be in place at all times to ensure the health and safety of all participants

Wildfire sparked at Stuart Creek near Westside Road

An air tanker has been requested, according to BC Wildfire

UPDATE: House fire spreads to bush off Westside

Small blaze burning near Vernon in Six Mile area

Petition calls on Central Okanagan School District to make masks mandatory

“If masks do not become mandatory in schools, children will get sick” - Sorsha Perry

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Pitt Meadows woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Most Read