FOX pays $3B for Thursday Night Football

CBS and NBC each paid $450 million for the previous two-year package.

Fox and the NFL have agreed to a five-year deal for Thursday night football games.

Those games previously were televised by CBS and NBC, two of the league’s other network partners. Fox announced Wednesday that it will televise 11 games between Weeks 4 and 15, with simulcasts on NFL Network and Fox Deportes.

Fox, which has the Sunday afternoon NFC package, will produce all of the games under the deal, which is worth a little more than $3 billion, according to a person with direct knowledge of the terms of the deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league didn’t announce its value.

“This is a single partner deal, we are not splitting the package,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a conference call. “We had tremendous amount of interest from all the broadcast partners, all of whom wanted it exclusively. We felt this was the best opportunity for the NFL to grow the Thursday night package.”

Goodell added that the league is exploring partnerships with digital outlets, also in conjunction with Fox.

The NFL has broadcast deals “five years out” with its other partners — ESPN has the Monday night package — so five years on this agreement made sense.

“Fundamentally, Fox was built on football,” said Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox, noting that 25 years ago, the NFC package “helped launch a fledgling network into what it is today.”

“These opportunities come along very, very infrequently,” he added. “You either have the rights to the most-watched content in media or you don’t. If you don’t take the opportunity, this won’t come up again for five years. We believe in buying the very best rights, and the best rights are the NFL.”

CBS and NBC each paid $450 million for the previous two-year package.

“We explored a responsible bid for Thursday Night Football but in the end are very pleased to return to entertainment programming on television’s biggest night,” CBS said in a statement. “At the same time, we look forward to continuing our terrific long-term partnership with the NFL on Sunday afternoons, with more than 100 games per season including next year’s Super Bowl 53.”

Fox could have a conflict if weather causes a World Series game to be postponed from Wednesday to Thursday. In recent years, Series Game 2 and 6 have been scheduled for Wednesday.

“In that hypothetical kind of a scenario, the World Series game would stay on Fox and our Thursday night game would become an FS1/NFL simulcast,” Fox spokesman Eddie Motl said.

Goodell noted that the Thursday night games are a place for innovation.

“One of the things we’ve taken into consideration with Thursday night in general is to evolve this package, to use it as an opportunity to learn, to understand where these various platforms are going, and what we can do to make it a more attractive experience for our fans,” he said. “We will look at that in that context, and the term will be consistent with what it will take to make sure that we continue to evolve that platform as well as the experience for our fans.”

That means streaming outlets, of course.

“We have accepted bids for digital partners,” Goodell said. “We have very healthy competition. In fact, I would say it’s unprecedented competition from a number of digital partners.

“As I say, we put our focus on the broadcast package first. … We are not required to go coterminous with the broadcasts. We can do any length of deal that we get to an agreement on with that digital partner. As I mentioned earlier, we will be doing this in co-operation with our Fox partners.”

___

Barry Wilner, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

RCMP nab prolific car thief in Agassiz after month-long search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in parts of Lower Mainland

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

New riverfront path under development

A path suitable for mobility scooters, pedestrians, cyclists and baby strollers

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

Most Read