FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS make bids for TNF

Getty Images

The NFL will soon be selling the rights to Thursday Night Football, at least for 2018 and possibly longer. And all four of the major broadcast networks have placed bids on the package.

Via, FOX has joined ABC and the two networks that split the package in 2016-17, CBS and NBC, in submitting bids for the Thursday night contract.

Per the report, FOX has submitted multiple proposals involving FOX and FS1; however, with the games already televised on NFL Network, it’s unlikely the league would place game content on anything but a three-letter broadcast network.

FOX’s interest is a bit of a surprise. In October, FOX CEO James Murdoch blamed the Sunday ratings drop on oversaturation arising in part from the Thursday broadcasts. The NFL tried to undermine Murdoch’s complaints by pointing out that FOX doesn’t participate in the Thursday night package.

Some bidders have proposed changes to the game, according to the report. Revisions include scheduling only teams that have had a bye the preceding Sunday, along with moving some of the games to other days of the week.

Under the broadcast antitrust exemption, the league can’t televise games on Fridays or Saturdays from early September through early December.

According to the report, CBS and NBC hope to pay less than the combined $450 million paid by the two networks in 2016 and 2017. The networks also have funded the production of the NFL Network-only games.

The league hopes to announce its decision regarding the TNF package either shortly before or shortly after the Super Bowl.

62 responses to “FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS make bids for TNF

  1. I must be in the minority but I love Thurs night games, just wish they made better efforts to give fans better matchups.

    I get how athletes need to let their bodies rest, but you suck it up 1 time per season and are rewarded with almost a 2nd bye week to follow it. If you win, it’s really a treat.

  2. I wanted TNF to go away because its just brutal on the players. They really need to address that problem to continue this.

    So Goodell wants to extend the season one week. Go ahead and do that, but still each team only plays 16 while getting a second bye week. With those extra bye weeks it should be possible to have teams getting one just before their TNF appearance.

    And then rested players not struggling just to get through the game results in a better more watchable product. i would watch anyhow.

    For bonus points lose those color rush uniforms. Do throwbacks or even just normal uniforms.

  3. dickshotdogs says:
    January 16, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Why don’t you poll the fans?


    Because we arent standing there with multi million dollar checks in our hands.

  4. Why all this interest for the worst game of the week? Those of us who have to get up in the morning turn it off at halftime anyway, if we even get that far. I say give it to B$PN and hope it’s the final nail in their coffin. Despicable organization through and through. It’s like they only exist to talk about Tebow, Krap, and to lie about the Patriots.

  5. maybe the participating teams play only coming out of their bye? Doesn’t help Weeks 2 and 3.

  6. If they could figure a way to schedule Thursday night games with teams coming off a bye week the quality of play could increase and the injury/recovery time issue could be solved.

  7. Two things….

    1) People should speak for themselves. Football season is short. I want football on Thursday. I’ll take it on Tuesday and Wednesday too.

    2) Regarding MNF…Please…Anyone but Fox. They’re production doesn’t appear to have evolved in three decades. Every one of their broadcasts feels decades behind the other networks. HD anyone?

  8. It speaks volumes to cord cutters. You get basic channels with an antenna or with most wifi. So ESPN and the NFL are cable or wifi addons. I don’t want or need either, although I do like the Combine.

    It’s still going to make money. They won’t have the overhead ESPN or the NFL network has. Hire an inexpensive and capable crew (the expensive ones are borderline awful as it is). Get rid of all the pre/post game talkng heads (who watches that anyway)?

    TNF should come after bye weeks for both teams. LOGICAL solution and proves the NFL does not care about player safety, just the bottom line.

    PS: Just because you have a lot of bidders does not necessarily mean the price will go up. Plenty of cost-benefit-analysis goes into it and I’m sure each has a bid to stick by.

    You have a 98 Accord with 40K miles on it, you’re going to get 10 people to offer you $1200. Some idiot might go higher because human nature kicks in and people get competitive. I doubt that will happen with these networks. They’ve done their research.

  9. Why? Why must they keep TNF going when all they are going to give us all year is crap games with crap players not fully rested resulting in an even more crappier product?

    Who in the world is watching these TNF games?

  10. The ratings drop still puts NFL football as the single best way to reach prime demographics on tv. Ask Bud Light about how their NFL dilly dilly campaign went?

  11. I guess I’m in the minority, but I love being able to watch nfl football 3 days a week. I don’t get why more football fans wouldnt. It also makes my fantasy football league more interesting.

  12. Who pays $200/month for cable. Way too may avenues to watch it free. I don’t care what network has it. I’m watching for free anyways.

  13. Heres how I see it. All the networks lining up to take advandage of the fall of the ratings king NFL. Networks now have some leverage with the ratings fall. NFL wins again!!!!

  14. But but but… I thought no one was going to watch football anymore? LOL- so funny reading all the gloom and doom commenters on here about how these ratings declines which they want to blame on the player protests, but are much more likely caused by the switch to multiple platforms for reviewing that don’t involve television, i’m going to hit owners so hard in their wallets. I said then I say now that that was never going to happen, that a football telecast is still the surest bet in the world for ratings and add hours compared to any other type of programming available.

  15. Television ratings in general are down as many people are tuning into Netflix and other options, but NFL football is still dominant. I know a lot of people hate to hear this but NFL football is a huge money maker for TV. Americans just like to watch football.


    You’re investing millions into player salaries.
    They’re getting hurt on TNF
    You’re LOSING!!?

  17. Disney putting ABC out there is a sign the rapidly dropping ESPN viewership makes the “old-fashioned way” more viable, since cord-cutters/streamers have no trouble getting ABC but generally don’t want to pay for 24/7 ESPN. It would give ABC some billables and promotional opportunities – and it might even attract someone better than McDonough to call the games. Nice guy, has the pedigree, but his voice has no personality whatsoever. Even Joe Buck can rise to the occasion when necessary (great call of the Vikes game-winner).

  18. Some bidders have proposed changes to the game, according to the report.
    This is where the problems began. The “Heidi” game was a travesty and ever since the networks and the league have demanded certain things when the contracts come open, few of which have been helpful to the fans. It is why they stop play for “TV timeouts” and other nonsense. The networks should broadcast the games as they are played. The game should not be modified to help the networks. It should be the networks working around the game itself.

  19. Thursday night will always be college football night for me unless my team is playing but for all that is holy, please don’t let FOX get it, one Joe Buck game a week is too much as it is

  20. I agree with many of the comments regarding TNF and player safety. But since our thoughts as fans compared to revenue mean zilch, my only comment is the NFL needs to dump FOX all together and not award them any games at all. Award the games to quality stations that film and televise a game in a higher quality than 720p.

  21. The majority of the TNF games are clunkers, and the caliber of football is not great.
    There are a lot of injuries in these game, and the players hate them.
    We are at the saturation point in the nfl—in this case less would be better.
    So, of course, the owners who swear allegiance to the greenback will never end TNF unless the players make it a huge priority in the next round of contract negotiations. I could do without the Tennessee-Tampa Bay type matchups on TNF.

  22. Well, a 98 Accord with only 40k miles would be in near-mint condition, so you wouldn’t be an idiot to make more than a $1200 offer, but I take your point.

  23. Either way, the NFL will still force us to only be able to watch three games total on Sunday, thereby forcing every out of market fan to miss the game they really want to see. It’s okay I guess-as long as those networks get to run their same ad packages four times in the single commercial break.

  24. mrkbuilders says:
    January 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm
    I must be in the minority but I love Thurs night games, just wish they made better efforts to give fans better matchups.

    I get how athletes need to let their bodies rest, but you suck it up 1 time per season and are rewarded with almost a 2nd bye week to follow it. If you win, it’s really a treat.


    Unless you’re the one who goes down with a season ending injury. Hard to suck that up. I say get rid of the TNF games. Hard enough to find good matchups on Sunday.

  25. I can’t wait. Hope they triple up on the commercials. Less football, more adverts, don’t you just love it and we want romo in the box for every game, and did I mention, more commercials.

  26. I always forget there is even a game on Thursday nights. Just not in my mindset midweek as life takes center stage.

  27. I watch College Football on Thursday Nights. They generally have a better game than anything the NFL trots out there.

  28. bleedredwhiteandblue66 says:
    January 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm
    Apparently it doesn’t matter what the plyers say. i.e. not enough recovery time. All about the $$$


    Actually, I’m knd of tired of hearing about player safety on short weeks.

    How many people would have no issue playing on 3 days rest for that kind of money.

    People can blame Thursday night for the drop in ratings all you want, im more interested in the injury rates and ratings drops since the CBA neutered the offseason practice schedules. These guys practice less, bitch more, and have more injuries than ever before.

    Wonder why the ratings are down? Maybe the product on the field is directly related to the current lack of offseason work and padded practices.

  29. The only way TNF will work will be if teams play on Thursday coming off a bye week. There is just not enough time for players to recover and it shows on the field.

  30. The statement that they want to have games on other nights of the week is hilarious to me. I think that most the issue with ratings in general is that they already spread the games out to much. There is a game on almost every night. It makes “primetime” a joke. It is to much. In my opinion, get rid of night games except for Monday night period. It would re gain interest in those games and the ratings would go back up.

  31. A Memphis vs Central Michigan college game is not better than an NFL game, not by a long shot. Thursday night college football schedules suck badly. At least the NFL tries by putting mostly divisional games on TNF. It’s not their fault a team tanks.

  32. The comment suggesting to add the extra week of programming WITHOUT adding another game BUT INSTEAD, ADDING ANOTHER BYE is a win-win. This way the league/fans get another week of programming, while players still have NO extra game to play, but DO get an extra bye week. That would guarantee NO team would have to play on Thursday without following one of their bye weeks.

    That shouldn’t even require a vote!

  33. Money/greed aside, the Thursday night NFL thing is and has been poor, from play on the field, to horribly ugly uniforms, to even broadcasters.

    But if they’re gonna keep it, maybe the NFL ought to just rotate it between networks?

  34. There are obviously a number of players complaining about the Thursday night games, and maybe rightfully so. I do wonder though what they would think if it decreased the salary cap for each team and their contract started shrinking. I am not an expert on the salary cap, but I believe it is based on a percentage of total revenue. Take 450 million off the top plus any additional advertising revenues.

    I really do not care either way. If there is a good game on a Thursday night I will watch. If not I will find something else.

  35. TNF is just a bad product.

    The idea to only schedule teams coming off a bye week works up until about week 10, at which point every team has had their bye (I think scheduling bye weeks any later than that would be detrimental to teams in need of a break).

    The league and networks would never do it, but if they’re in search of more eyeballs why not stagger the kickoffs beyond the traditional 1pm/4pm on Sundays? It would give more flexibility shifting start times around to feature better matchups. As it is, beyond the team I root for, I don’t waste my time with TNF, and on Sundays/Mondays I only bother to watch if it’s a truly great matchup.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!