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Report: League already shopping new Thursday night package

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Last week, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that a new labor deal would include a 16-game Thursday night package, which would launch in 2012.  ESPN thereafter revised the report without explanation, pointing out that the new package would launch in 2014.  Others said the same thing, citing the fact that the current TV deals extend through 2013, which would keep the league from taking games away from the CBS and FOX Sunday afternoon packages.

John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal now report that ESPN may have been right in the first place.  Per SBJ, the league already is shopping an eight-game Thursday night package, which would be paired with the existing NFL Network late-season slate of games.  (And that’s very good news for NFLN, which has been trying for five seasons and counting to leverage eight late-season games into maximum presence on non-premium cable packages.)

Ourand and Kaplan report that the league already has the right to peel back the games from CBS and FOX.  Though this surely would result in a decrease in the CBS and FOX rights fees, any new revenue (approximately $700 million) easily would be offset by the reduction in revenue from CBS and FOX.

We’ve got a feeling that the net gain is a lot closer to $700 million than zero.

Early bidders for the new package, according to SBJ, are Turner and Comcast.  Turner would put the games on TBS, TNT, or truTV.  Comcast likely would place the games on Versus.  ESPN and Spike TV also are possibilities.

Regardless of where the package lands, a Thursday night cash grab is coming, probably sooner rather than later.  With the league needing to expand the pie and the players unwilling to play two extra games, this is the next best way to get more milk without further stretching the udder.

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27 Responses to “Report: League already shopping new Thursday night package”
  1. chadmurdigan says: Jun 27, 2011 10:32 AM

    “this is the next best way to get more milk without further stretching the udder.”

    Hey, Mike, you must have gotten some rest over the weekend to be this sharp on a Monday morning. Great line!

  2. 12strikes says: Jun 27, 2011 10:34 AM

    Now Peter King will not have the 18 game schedule to make silly arguements against, he’ll have to come up with silly arguments against 16 Thurs night games.

  3. ukdude7 says: Jun 27, 2011 10:36 AM

    I know alot of people like the idea of more NFL spread over different days of the week but I have always felt that Thursday football never delivers the same type of intensity or quality when players have only had 3 days rest and short weeks to prepare for opponents.

  4. aequitas83 says: Jun 27, 2011 10:38 AM

    The NFL must be very careful here. One of the reasons they make so much money is the controlled supply of the product to the consumers. Saturating the market could actually hurt revenues (see NCAA after the Board of Regents of Oklahoma and Georgia ruling).

  5. bmitchelf says: Jun 27, 2011 10:43 AM

    I’ve read this twice, and I’m still trying to figure out how this affects NFLN’s presence on non-premium cable packages. Is it because the cable companies would then want to have the NFLN games available to customers after the first eight games are over? If so, they probably shouldn’t go to Versus, which is still premium in most places, sometimes on sports packages.

  6. randomjim says: Jun 27, 2011 11:06 AM

    ukdude7 says:
    Jun 27, 2011 10:36 AM
    I know alot of people like the idea of more NFL spread over different days of the week but I have always felt that Thursday football never delivers the same type of intensity or quality when players have only had 3 days rest and short weeks to prepare for opponents.
    ====================================
    aequitas83 says:
    Jun 27, 2011 10:38 AM
    The NFL must be very careful here. One of the reasons they make so much money is the controlled supply of the product to the consumers. Saturating the market could actually hurt revenues (see NCAA after the Board of Regents of Oklahoma and Georgia ruling).
    ===================================

    2 EXCELLENT POINTS THAT WILL NOT BE RECOGNIZED UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE.
    GREED IS BLIND.

  7. scytherius says: Jun 27, 2011 11:13 AM

    I would love the Thursday night games (as long as they aren’t on the NFL Network as I don’t get it). But then again, I have a wife who loves football.

  8. billybats says: Jun 27, 2011 11:13 AM

    But wait, I don’t understand….the author of this post has previously and repeatedly said that the NFL and NFLPA* had NO CHANCE to get definitive documentation in place to start the season on the current pace of talks….how can they possibly do all of that AND simultaneously negotiate the new rights package?

    One answer is that the author of this story is WRONG about what it will take to get a deal signed, and WRONG about how many lawyers are actually working on drafting and negotiating the terms. As I’ve said all along, there are many, many lawyers working on this as the deal evolves, which would explain how this is going to get done in time for the season to be played. The author of this story should stick to subjects he knows something about.

  9. joe6606 says: Jun 27, 2011 11:20 AM

    “I’ve read this twice, and I’m still trying to figure out how this affects NFLN’s presence on non-premium cable packages”
    ———————————
    The initial report was unclear whether all 16 thursday night games would be up for bidding (and hence the NFLN would lose its current 8) or whether just the 1st 8 weeks would be bid on.
    The later reports seem to confirm that the NFLN gets to keep its current grasp on the last 8 thursday nights of the season.

    As for the correlation between NFLN and its presence on non-premium cable packages: if the NFLN were to lose its 8 games, pretty much NO cable company would put NFLN on non-premium, since it is relatively expensive. Since it has games, there is more consumer pressure to force the (greedy) cable companies to provide NFLN on non-premium packages.

  10. ac0117 says: Jun 27, 2011 11:23 AM

    Make it available to everyone not just those with NFLN but out of the hands of ESPN’s obnoxious commentary, if at all possible.

  11. olcap says: Jun 27, 2011 11:49 AM

    I won’t be watching or attending any games, or buying any merchandise or memorabilia that puts money into the NFL. Period. And I hope that many, many other ex-fans have the same plans. It would be heavenly to watch these greedy NFL people squirm with a BIG reduction in their bottom line. Boycott!

  12. abengalfan says: Jun 27, 2011 11:54 AM

    ac0117 says:
    Jun 27, 2011 11:23 AM
    Make it available to everyone not just those with NFLN but out of the hands of ESPN’s obnoxious commentary, if at all possible.

    Agree @ no ESPN, my mute button is wearing out due to ESPN blowhards and that’s just from MNF

  13. phinfan says: Jun 27, 2011 12:08 PM

    This will make fantasy football h&llish

  14. ballinmore says: Jun 27, 2011 12:15 PM

    olcap says: Jun 27, 2011 11:49 AM

    I won’t be watching or attending any games, or buying any merchandise or memorabilia that puts money into the NFL. Period. And I hope that many, many other ex-fans have the same plans. It would be heavenly to watch these greedy NFL people squirm with a BIG reduction in their bottom line. Boycott!

    ——————————————————

    I have no idea how the league is going to survive this year without the $164 you were going to spend on a ticket, jersey and hat. Maybe you should drop your cable service too so there is no chance of them getting any of your money from their TV deals.

  15. jackhall00 says: Jun 27, 2011 12:21 PM

    I will be watching all my games for FREE on my TV through the internet so this has no real bearing on me.

  16. klunge says: Jun 27, 2011 12:30 PM

    aequitas83 says:
    Jun 27, 2011 10:38 AM
    The NFL must be very careful here. One of the reasons they make so much money is the controlled supply of the product to the consumers. Saturating the market could actually hurt revenues (see NCAA after the Board of Regents of Oklahoma and Georgia ruling).
    ———————————————–

    How are they saturating the market? It’s still the same number of games being played. Seems to me they are just creating more bidding opportunities for networks to try to get some of the action, which potentially can increase revenue.

  17. olcap says: Jun 27, 2011 12:31 PM

    @ ballinmore

    Yeah, since you’re obviously one of the NFL posting shills, losing my $164 as you put it, will mean a big decrease in your pablum allotment.

  18. Deb says: Jun 27, 2011 12:34 PM

    Oh good grief :roll:

    We’ve had Thursday Thanksgiving games for generations and half a season of Thursday night games for years without watering down the product. If it’s too much football for you, don’t watch. There … solved it.

    This will make life hellish for Fantasy players? How was it last season when you had eight Thursday night games? Another eight will make that much difference? Aww, what a shame the men working on that extra $700 million in revenue weren’t more considerate of your lil side game.

    olcap, if you’re boycotting football on Thursday night and every other night, shouldn’t you also be boycotting football talk? Just a thought …

    We’ve already got Thursday night football, so your concerns would carry more weight if you’d been making them all along. Now it just sounds like the NFL is finally throwing a bone to the fans, and the wee boys can’t stop whining about it. PMSing much?

  19. olcap says: Jun 27, 2011 1:40 PM

    @ Deb

    Are you saying that my reading and commenting on PFT is putting money into the NFL? Let me ask you a question: if you really put just a tiny bit of thought into your assumption that, somehow, I am causing money to go to the NFL through my reading and commenting on a website which generates no money for the NFL, will you then come to the conclusion that your assumption is, shall I say, small-minded?

    My opinion is that fans should boycott the NFL because the NFL needs to be taught a lesson; a very painful lesson. There is nothing more painful to a wealthy schmuck than to lose even a dime that they had a chance to get. The game I have loved since I could remember, as a kid growing up in the 50′s, is being ruined just like baseball was ruined. If you don’t think it’s worthwhile to boycott the people ruining the game, then don’t. Go ahead and keep supporting the people killing the game itself. I really don’t care.

    My position on this is simple and straightforward: either punish those ruining the game now, or support them. If you choose to support them now, then you care nothing for the game itself, and are just another of the lemmings that the NFL owners otherwise refer to privately as, a sucker.

  20. Deb says: Jun 27, 2011 1:54 PM

    @olcap …

    No, I’m not saying you commenting on PFT is putting money into the hands of the NFL. I’m saying all the whining on this thread is giving me a headache. If you don’t want to watch football, don’t. But stop telling the football fans on this football site they’re fools and lemmings for still loving football. It’s like walking into a Catholic church and yelling “Down with the Pope.” You’re entitled to your opinion, but so are we. Go to a soccer game and leave us alone.

  21. chocopoppy says: Jun 27, 2011 2:09 PM

    How about a 16 game Thursday INTERNATIONAL schedule? 4 in London, 4 in Germany, 2 in Mexico City, etc.

  22. kevinfromphilly says: Jun 27, 2011 2:10 PM

    Ugh, please not Versus. If I hear that crappy Xfinity jingle one more time, I’m gonna throw a brick at the TV.

  23. Soulman45 says: Jun 27, 2011 2:43 PM

    @jackhall00
    How do you get all the games on your internet I can only get a few?

  24. olcap says: Jun 27, 2011 3:51 PM

    @ Deb

    If my comments are giving you headaches, perhaps you should go where only YOUR opinions are worthy of your time and energies, not to mention your health. In other words, if you don’t like em honey, then don’t effen read em.

  25. Deb says: Jun 27, 2011 4:21 PM

    @olcap …

    Sweetie, it’s not all about you. I said the whining gives me a headache :)

  26. aequitas83 says: Jun 27, 2011 8:27 PM

    klunge
    How are they saturating the market? It’s still the same number of games being played. Seems to me they are just creating more bidding opportunities for networks to try to get some of the action, which potentially can increase revenue.
    ———————————————–
    (1) I’m not saying they are saturating the market. I’m saying that the NFL needs to make sure they don’t because doing so reduces revenue. Avoiding this (in a large part thanks to the Sports Broadcasting Act and Rozelle getting all the owners on the same page) is largely what has made the NFL so successful. (2) Yes, the same number of games are being played, but more are being televised. The NFL needs to be cautious that the games do not turn into a commodity. That is what has happened with MLB, NCAA regular season basketball, and to a certain extent NCAA football after the Board of Regents of Oklahoma/Georgia ruling.

  27. dollieaustin says: Jun 28, 2011 8:29 AM

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