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Volume 25 No. 30
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NFL RFP Suggests League Is Open To Changing "TNF" Package

The NFL has told media companies that they have to submit bids for the “Thursday Night Football” package by early January. Yesterday, the league sent media companies interested in bidding on the package RFP documents that show that the NFL is open to making changes to the package, which has been the focus of complaints by fans, players and TV execs. For this cycle, TV nets are encouraged to bid on the entire package, which would include streaming rights. The league’s RFP offers the possibility that a digital company could buy the entire package, which has never happened with the NFL before. That could lead to a scenario where a company like Amazon would produce the games and sell them to affiliates in the local markets.

In most other ways, the RFP looks similar to ones handed out in previous years. The league could sell the main package to one or two TV nets. NFL Net has to carry a minimum of seven games exclusively in order to comply with affiliate deals with pay-TV operators. A digital platform will stream the broadcast games, part of what the league calls a “tri-cast.” Broadcasters also can submit bids on packages of varying sizes, from 4-11 games.

But the document also makes it clear that the league is open to making significant changes to the “TNF” package. The NFL has the flexibility to change the number of games in the package, which currently is at 18. The league has told media execs that it would even consider moving more games off of Thursday nights. This season’s “TNF” schedule had three games on Saturday, one on Sunday morning from London and one on Monday afternoon (Christmas Day). 

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