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Volume 25 No. 9
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Sources: Fox Picks Up "TNF" Rights, Replacing CBS, NBC

Fox will replace CBS and NBC as the “TNF” broadcaster as part of a five-year deal that will be announced later today, according to sources. Fox’ deal will pay the NFL more than the combined $450M per year CBS and NBC paid over the last two years. Sources peg Fox’ payout at an average of around $550M per year through the '22 season, which syncs up with the league’s other TV deals. This is a strong sign for the NFL, as it shows its programming remains among the most valuable in entertainment.

As part of the deal, Fox will carry 11 “TNF” games per season. Those games will be simulcast on NFL Network and a digital partner still to be named. NFL Network will carry an undetermined number of games exclusively in order to adhere to its pay-TV affiliate deals. As part of the deal, Fox picked up expanded mobile rights for its Thursday and Sunday games. Fox’ top NFL broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will not be in the booth for the “TNF” games, which marks a difference from previous Thursday deals when the NFL mandated that CBS and NBC use its top broadcast teams. The NFL last year did allow NBC to use Mike Tirico on Thursday in place of Al Michaels.

Bidding occurred over the past several weeks with CBS, Fox and NBC submitting formal bids. Sources say that CBS and NBC submitted bids that were less than their current deals. ESPN had considered placing a bid that would put games on ABC but decided at the last minute not to submit a bid. Turner, which had been part of the “TNF” bidding process, decided not to bid. Fox put in a strong bid just weeks after Disney announced plans to buy 21st Century Fox’ entertainment assets and RSNs.

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