The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the National Football League looking for ways to maximize revenue streams, could divide the Thursday Night Football package between CBS and NBC. An agreement has not been finalized, but the WSJ says CBS and NBC would each broadcast five games with an NFL Network simulcast for those ten contests. NFLN would air the rest of the schedule exclusively. And another feature would have the networks alternate or rotate throughout the season which would create havoc on CBS’ and NBC’s schedule.
Networks like consistency and having a game once every two or three weeks would cause pre-emptions on their primetime schedules, but the NFL cares more about the rights fees and growing its own channel.
Under the last TNF contract with CBS, the network produced all 16 games on the schedule, aired eight games with NFL Network (the first seven weeks and one late-season contest) with the rest on NFLN. But as the WSJ reports, by having a rotating schedule, NFL Network would be able to keep some high-profile games for itself creating a bigger audience.
With a schedule that could have CBS, NBC and NFL Network sharing the games, it would create confusion for viewers looking to find TNF, but the NFL would promote the fact the entire schedule would be seen on NFL Network.
As we told you earlier this month, Fox is also interested in getting a portion or the entire TNF package, but the Wall Street Journal says while it is in the running, it trails CBS and NBC as the favorites for Thursday Night Football. There’s a possibility that the NFL could remain with one partner, but it appears likely that the league will go with two partners for this latest go-around. And in addition, the pricetag could reach a total of $600 million for the ten games. CBS paid in the neighborhood of $300 million annually for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
With this package being decided, the NFL is also looking at a separate streaming deal for TNF with either Apple, Google or Yahoo as yet another potential way of getting even more revenue.
A decision is expected before Super Bowl 50.