NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ to be Split Between NBC and CBS

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A coveted package of NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” will be split between CBS and NBC, a maneuver that will introduce new complexity into the next fall TV season and attests to the leverage the sports league has in the current media-industry landscape, where mass audiences are harder to draw to scripted programming and reality shows.

For the past two seasons, CBS held sole rights to an eight-game package, which was simulcast on cable’s NFL Network. Now, each network will show five games each season over the course of a two-year deal. The NFL said all broadcast games will continue to be simulcast on NFL Network, which will o exclusively televise an eight-game schedule of regular season games comprised of “Thursday Night Football,” late-season games on Saturday, and additional games to be determined.

The value of the pact was said to be $225 million per network, a big jump from the $300 million CBS was said to pay for eight games that were broadcast last year.

And the league has more to do with its mid-week franchise. The NFL said in a statement Monday that it’s “in active discussions with prospective digital partners” for streaming rights that would allow the games to be distributed by a digital player. “A deal announcement is expected in the near future.”

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SOURCE: Variety, Brian Steinberg