Bidding starts for NFL’s Thursday night games


NFL / National Football LeagueCBS and Fox Sports have submitted bids for the right to air as many as eight Thursday night football games, according to a Reuters exclusive. “The league is selling the package after seeing its own network deliver sub-standard ratings compared to games aired on Sunday and Monday nights. The bidding is in its early stages and is also expected to include ESPN, NBC and Turner Sports. Media analysts think the winner will have to dig deep,” noted Seeking Alpha.

Fox, CBS and ESPN have submitted bids for the rights to broadcast as many as eight Thursday night National Football League games, three people familiar with the bidding process told Reuters, as bidders began assembling for what is expected to be a highly contested auction.

Based on the reported $950 million that NBC pays for its package of 19 NFL Sunday night games, an eight-game lineup could be worth $400 million or more, said the story: “The bids may come in lower because the league wants Thursday night games simultaneously televised on its own NFL Network cable channel along with the winning bidder’s network, according to two of the people.”

The NFL is seeking bids for a single season, starting this September, people familiar with the matter have said, with the likelihood of extending the contract after its first year. The league will determine how many Thursday night games it will offer based on the specific proposals it receives.

“NFL Network’s Thursday night games were viewed by an average of 8 million viewers for a 13-game schedule in 2013, a 10% boost from 2012 but well below NBC’s average 21.5 million viewers for its Sunday night contests,” said Reuters.