SBD/January 20, 2014/Media

Sources: All Four NFL TV Partners, Turner Sports Bid On Thursday Night Package

Thursday night games could be a fit for cable nets like FS1 or NBCSN
All four NFL broadcast partners -- NBC, Fox, CBS and ESPN -- have "bid on the Thursday night television package," and Turner Sports "has also bid," according to a source cited by Barry Wilner of the AP. There is a "strong possibility ESPN would put the games on ABC should it be chosen" (AP, 1/19). In Tampa, Tom Jones notes the Thursday package "would be a big boost for Fox, which could air games" on the fledgling FS1. The "same could be said" for NBC and NBCSN (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/20). NBC Entertainment Chair Bob Greenblatt yesterday during the Television Critics Association press tour did not state whether the net made a bid for the Thursday games, but said, "We'd love to have more NFL games." Greenblatt: "Thursday night games might be really interesting to us." In L.A., Joe Flint noted one reason the Thursday package "would appeal to NBC is that its comedies on that night have been struggling" (LATIMES.com, 1/19).

PACKAGE COULD BE WORTH $400M: REUTERS' Ronald Grover cited sources as saying that the Thursday package could be for as many as eight games and "be worth $400 million or more" (REUTERS, 1/17). SI.com's Richard Deitsch cited a source as saying that the "number of games being bid on was not set to a specific number, meaning the package could be ... anywhere from six to eight games or more, depending on the proposals from the networks." The source added that the NFL was "very interested in what broadcast group would provide the best promotional plan to amplify the viewership of Thursday night games." While initial bids were only for the '14 season, there is the "likelihood of extending the contract after its first year." The league was "happy with how the NFL Network positioned Thursday as a football night but feels a network partner can improve viewership numbers" (SI.com, 1/19).
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