Thursday Night Football is coming to Amazon Prime exclusively a year earlier than planned. This coming season will be the last under the league’s “tri-cast” model, which saw games carried across Fox, NFL Network and Amazon. Starting with the 2022 season, TNF will be exclusive to Amazon (with TV stations in the participating teams’ home markets airing those games as well). Amazon is paying more than $1 billion for the rights.
Fox Corp. is the only NFL media partner to carry two different football franchises. Depending on the future costs of those games, Fox may be content to carry just one. The company’s CFO, Steve Tomsic, said Tuesday that if forced to make a decision about whether to carry just Sunday-afternoon football games or Thursday Night Football, Fox would opt for the Sunday package.
The NFL and Amazon have inked a multi-year extension to their Thursday Night Football deal, which sees the digital giant stream 11 games throughout the season. First signed back in 2017 and extended in 2018, the agreement sees Amazon show the games on digital via Prime Video and Twitch, with Fox retaining broadcast (plus showing in Spanish on Fox Deportes) and NFL Network handling cable.
The Week Four Thursday Night Football game on Fox between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers was supposed to be exciting beyond the game — which came down to a goal line stand in the final minute — as it was meant to be the debut of the NFL in 4K HDR. But Fox’s gameplan failed for a variety of reasons, allowing for only a limited audience to experience the game in the hi-res format.
Amazon’s streaming simulcast of NFL Thursday Night Football games may not be drawing TV-like numbers, but the tech giant appears encouraged by results to date. For the seven games Amazon has streamed so far this season, total combined viewership is up 22% to 14.7 million viewers, compared to the same number of games last season, while the average minute audience is up 36% to 455,000.
A Variety survey of commercial-ratings projections for the 2018-19 broadcast network TV season finds that media buyers believe only a few top programs will build on audiences from last year. Among the programs they are betting on: NBC’s Saturday Night Live and a new run of Thursday Night Football games on Fox.
Sheila Oliver, VP and GM of Fox-owned KMSP-WFTC Minneapolis, has been in the market 13 years, joining as general sales manager in 2003 and promoted to GM in 2014. She talks about of the health of the nation’s 15th largest market, Thursday Night Football coming to Fox, and the addition of more news at the duopoly, and eight other Fox O&Os.
To come even close to covering the $3.3 billion it agreed to pay the NFL for its Thursday primetime package, Fox is going to have to generate more money from retrans and reverse comp. It can do that by acquiring more stations and putting a tighter squeeze on mVPDs and affiliates. But in doing so, it may eventually test the economic and regulatory limits of retrans.
21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch: “Live sport has never been more important than it is today. This is why we are energized and excited about our recent deal with the NFL to make Fox Sports the official home of Thursday Night Football for the next five years. NFL programming is hands down the most powerful in all of media.”
Securities analysts Michael Nathanson says the $3.3 billion deal for Thursday Night Football “is both offensive and defensive. It is no secret that Fox network has struggled outside of sports. Devoting Thursday nights in the fall to football means one less night of original programming to worry about.”
$60 million per game for the worst game of the week? Here’s why huge bid could be worth it
The Thursday Night Football games previously were televised by CBS and NBC, two of the league’s other network partners. But Fox announced Wednesday that it will televise 11 games between Weeks 4 and 15, with simulcasts on NFL Network and Fox Deportes. Fox, is reported to be paying around $550 million per year, up from the $450 million CBS and NBC paid for 10 games.
Fox Broadcasting is close to a deal for the rights to Thursday Night Football, according to people familiar with the matter, betting that adding NFL games to its primetime schedule will boost viewership despite the league’s recent decline in the ratings.The company submitted a bid that’s higher than the $45 million a game CBS and NBC agreed to pay last year, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The deal hasn’t been finalized and could still fall apart.
Surprisingly, only three TV networks — CBS, Fox and NBC — submitted formal bids for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package, suggesting that the TV home for the much-criticized package could change next season.
Nearly 2 million people logged onto Amazon.com for the online retailer’s first livestream of Thursday Night Football, the National Football League said.
The NFL is selling the rights to stream its Thursday Night Football games next season, and at least four big tech companies are interested. Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Google’s YouTube have all submitted proposals to the NFL in the hope of streaming the games, according to two sources familiar with the process.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The NFL is re-evaluating its scheduling process in a bid to avoid the short turnaround of having teams playing on Sunday night and then travel to play on Thursday, Troy Vincent told The Associated Press. “That’s tough, and we’ll have to look at that,” the league’s vice president of football operations said […]
With mounting criticism of the quality of every-week Thursday football, scattered suggestions have emerged in recent weeks that the NFL could pull the plug on the experiment. Those suggestions are stronger than that; per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will be considering the possibility of ending, or at least limiting, Thursday Night Football.
That number was smaller than Yahoo’s live stream of a Thursday game last season. and it’s way smaller than the 48.1 million who watched it on live TV. Last Thursday’s game was the first of 10 that the platform will stream this season.
In the debut of an NFL plan to live stream Thursday Night Football on Twitter, the video feed had a slight delay. Fans’ complaints were posted on Twitter in real time.
Just hours before kickoff yesterday a partnership-within-a-partnership was announced that will give viewers still more options for watching Twitter coverage of NFL Thursday Night Football. The Twitter live stream will be available on SI.com and Time.com, in what Time is calling a “syndication partnership.” Future Thursday Night Football games will be on other Time Inc. properties: FanSided.com and TheMMQB.com. The sites will embed the live Twitter timeline alongside the video.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has a lot riding on his bet that live streaming events — especially the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, to which it won rights — will kickstart a necessary turnaround. The Wall Street Journal reports that ad packages for all 10 games run $1 million-$8 million with two commercials per game and additional sponsorship of clips, but some ad buyers are hesitant to commit. Twitter hopes that by bringing its app to TV screens via Apple TV, those anxieties will abate. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.
For CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, half of an NFL Thursday Night Football package is better than no package at all. “Would we have liked the whole package?” McManus said Tuesday at the network’s media briefing ahead of the NFL season. “I guess we would have.” CBS is getting the first five night games, starting Sept. 15. NBC takes the franchise over starting Nov. 17.
The Peacock is making the case to advertisers that it should get a premium over what CBS is charging for its own Thursday-night package of NFL games, according to people familiar with the situation. NBC feels its request is justified because its Thursday games air much closer to the holiday season, when the need for various sponsors to get their promotional messages out on TV becomes more intense.
Toyota Motor’s Lexus will sponsor the halftime show of Thursday Night Football no matter where the show airs, which this season will include the NFL Network as well as both CBS and NBC. CBS and NBC are each scheduled to broadcast five of the National Football League’s Thursday-night games in 2016. Each match-up will be simulcast on NFL Network.
Each network will air five Thursday Night Football contests beginning this fall with the NFL’s own NFL Network continuing to simulcast the games. Sports Business Journal is reporting that the networks are paying a combined $450 million-$500 million a year for the rights.
The National Football League is flexing its muscles in negotiations with TV networks over the renewal of Thursday night telecasts, not only seeking a sizable rights fees increase but also pushing multiple broadcasters to split the package and agree to potentially onerous scheduling conditions.
Begun on the NFL Network and nurtured on CBS, the telecast is expected to bring the NFL $350 million to $400 million a year when a new one- or two-year contract is completed soon.
The NFL has asked the broadcast networks in the running to submit bids for a partial package, potentially splitting the Thursday games across all of them.
It’s a $600 million question, since the NFL is auctioning off the rights to its Thursday night games early next year, and tech players like Apple might want to get involved. So could the league sell its TV rights to an all-digital platform? Maybe.
One of the last big sports rights opportunities for several years is about to become available to TV networks. The NFL’s Thursday Night Football — which for the past two seasons has aired on CBS via one-year deals — is generating intense interest as the league is likely to extend the length of the package significantly to bring it in line with other TV rights pacts, most of which run through the 2022 season. Analysts predict a long-term Thursday Night Football arrangement could go for $600 million annually and potentially much higher when dealmaking begins in earnest in January.
The NFL has told networks looking to land the rights to Thursday Night Football that it plans to make a decision by the first quarter of 2016. While league officials have not put a specific deadline on making a decision, they have told TV executives that they want to make sure the winning bidder has enough time to sell advertising and create marketing campaigns for the 2016-17 NFL season, which would be the first year of a new deal.
Thursday night football games have done their job for CBS by helping it promote new programs, build up its Monday programming and show fewer repeats.
NFL re-upped the deal with CBS for Thursday Night Football, which again will air on the network next fall. The NFL has the option to extend the agreement by another year after that. CBS will broadcast the first eight Thursday Night Football games which also will be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will also exclusively televise eight games in the run-up to the playoffs. The mix of games will include 14 on Thursday nights and two late-season games on Saturday.
TVB’s just-released NFL 2014: A Local Success analysis of the recently concluded Thursday Night Football partnership between CBS and the NFL Network reveals broadcast television as the driving force of live NFL viewership.
CBS has gotten a nice boost this fall from Thursday Night Football, which posted big gains over the network’s usual Thursday lineup and helped balance out declines by a handful of aging shows. But with the NFL program’s seven-week run now over, the question is whether CBS can maintain that momentum without its No. 2 show.