The NFL’s Thursday Night Football package could have a new home in 2018.
ABC is likely to bid on the league’s Thursday night games this year, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports.
When the league first decided to simulcast its NFL Network Thursday night package on a broadcast network, CBS was its partner. NBC later joined in and got half the network package, with CBS showing the other half. Now ABC could get the rights.
If the games were to air on ABC, they would feature ESPN broadcasters but appear on local ABC stations and not ESPN. Although ESPN has not named a replacement for Jon Gruden in the Monday Night Football booth, the NFL has asked networks to use their top talent on Thursday nights, so it’s likely that if ABC were to get Thursday night games, the Monday night announcers would work Thursday nights as well. Thursday night games will also continue to air on NFL Network.
Although Thursday night ratings were, like the rest of the NFL’s ratings, down this season, they were still strong relative to other programming on American television. Nine of the Top 100 most-watched prime time shows of 2017 were Thursday Night Football games.