Sources: ABC To Be Among Bidders For Next "Thursday Night Football" Package
ABC has "emerged as a surprise bidder for the NFL’s 'Thursday Night Football' package," according to sources cited by John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The NFL has "not yet received a formal bid, which would come via ESPN as Disney owns both networks and ESPN produces sports events on ABC." But the league "clearly expects a bid from ABC, along with incumbent 'TNF' broadcasters, CBS and NBC -- both of whom have indicated to the league that they will bid for the package." Fox also was "setting up a bid for 'TNF.'" The deadline to submit bids to the league was last week, but sources said that bids "still will be submitted after the deadline." CBS and NBC "pay a combined" $450M per year for the current "TNF" package. ABC "bid on the Thursday package" in '14, but it was "not competitive and CBS ended up with the package." John Skipper’s "surprising resignation as ESPN president last month led some to question whether ABC would move forward with a bid." Ultimately, Disney and ESPN execs "decided to do so, though it is not known whether their bid will be competitive." The league has "told potential TV bidders that NFL Network needs to carry a minimum of seven games exclusively to comply with its pay-TV affiliate deals" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/15 issue).