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

Just Posted

Tweedsmuir Park wildfires grow to encompass more than 200,000 hectares

Four fires now managed under one as Tweedsmuir Complex, evacation orders and alerts still in place

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Most Read