FOX defends investment in Thursday Night Football

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Not long after complaining about the impact of Thursday Night Football on his network’s Sunday NFL programming, FOX CEO James Murdoch is now defending the decision to commit billions to the product over the next five years.

“As the scarcity value of large audiences coming together around national events continues to rise, we want to be the home of that kind of compelling product,” Murdoch said during a FOX earnings call, according to the Wall Street Journal (via SportsBusiness Journal).

That may be a tough sell for FOX shareholders, given that FOX has seen sharply reduced revenue for its sports programming, thanks to lower ratings for both the NFL and the World Series. Regardless, FOX believes that the annual investment (either $550 million or $660 million per year, given the conflicting reports), which will help FOX win the ratings battle for any Thursday it has a game and boost the rest of the lineup, is worth it.

Despite its impact on other NFL programming, TNF is here to stay. So FOX realized that it could either overpay to grab the property, or watch one of its competitors land it. The motivation to generate a profit apparently became a secondary concern.

7 responses to “FOX defends investment in Thursday Night Football

  1. I think the Shareholders, specifically the board of directors and other key stockholders, will be fine with it, after the windfall they are getting from Disney (even if only in the form of stock) for the 20th Century Fox Studios film and TV library, FX and other cable stations, and whatever other assets were included in that deal. When it’s all said and done, the new Fox will be running very lean, and the payback from TNF will help keep eyes on their post-sale flagship, the current Fox TV station.

  2. Most people don’t even watch live tv any more, they stream it on demand or watch it on their dvr. However, that is not the case with sports. Despite football’s declining ratings, this is a good investment because live tv(aside from sports) is going to be gone in a few years.
    This means the NFL games will get more advertising demand which in turn means they can charge more money.

  3. I won’t be watching, as I haven’t for the last 3 years – the network it’s aired on doesn’t matter…..

  4. This is an easy one Florio. After complaining about TNF, then buying it. If you cant beat em, join em. Its all about profits.

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