SBD/July 18, 2014/Media

CBS' Moonves Discusses Future Of Thursday Night NFL Package, Possible Expansion

Moonves said CBS would be open to expanding beyone eight "TNF" games
CBS President & CEO Les Moonves on Thursday made a "rare appearance at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to help hype" the net's new eight-game Thursday night NFL package, something CBS is "trying to parlay ... into a long-term deal," according to Michael O'Connell of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The current deal is only for the '14 season, but Moonves said, "It's our job to show the NFL what we do and how great this can be. We're confident that after this year, they'll sit down and give us a longer deal." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell noted, "We have not made a determination beyond the one-year. We made a short-term decision in what we think is a long-term strategy." O'Connell noted an oversaturation of the NFL product "seems to remain a nonconcern," though its "increasing footprint in primetime does prompt the question." Moonves: "When everybody talks about overexposure, there clearly isn't. The NFL gets incredible advertising rates" (, 7/17). Moonves added, "This is a sure thing. ... There is a tremendous demand for more football on Thursday night." CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus seemed "enthused about the production plans for the Thursday broadcasts, which will be driven by super high-definition 4K cameras, including one with a special position dangling over the goal line." One player per game "will be outfitted with a microphone for in-the-moment coverage." Moonves "promised that CBS talent would be enlisted to promote the Thursday package," and NFL storylines "will be woven into some of the Eye’s scripted series" (, 7/17). Meanwhile, BROADCASTING & CABLE's Daniel Holloway reported Goodell on Thursday "left the door open to the possibility of streaming games live in the near future." He pointed out the NFL "has retained its digital rights separate from its broadcast contracts" (, 7/17).

SHATTERED GLASS: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Marc Snetiker noted TV nets have “been dabbling in using 3-D camera technology to cover sporting events, but that’s likely an approach that CBS won’t be taking moving forward, thanks to previously failed experiments like the Masters tournament or the final weekend of NCAA basketball this year.” McManus said, “All the networks looked really seriously at 3-D. ... It looked brilliant for about 15 minutes. What we found out was, it’s really not a very good way to watch a sporting event, with the camera moving back and forth quickly." With CBS and ESPN deciding not to pursue the technology, McManus said, "I don’t think you’ll see anybody in the near future or perhaps the distant future really pursuing 3-D coverage.” He added, “What we’re all pursuing now is 4K, which is super high-definition" (, 7/17).
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