Starting next season, if you want your Thursday Night Football fix, you’ll have to tune your televisions to Fox.
Details on Fox agreeing to pay more than $3 billion for five years of rights to Thursday Night Football https://t.co/9dZTMFVFtq
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 31, 2018
As reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell Wednesday morning, Fox has won the bidding war for the rights to broadcast Thursday Night Football. The blockbuster deal is worth an average of more than $660 million a year. Fox will broadcast 11 games from Week 4 through Week 15, not including Thanksgiving Day.
“We feel very confident in their ability to continue to grow this franchise,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said via conference call Wednesday, per Rovell.
For the past two seasons, the broadcast of Thursday Night Football has been a joint venture between CBS and NBC at a value of $45 million each. The new deal with Fox finds the value of each game raised to $60 million.
As part of the deal, Fox will also benefit from the digital rights to the Thursday night games. The value of digital rights has skyrocketed through the years. Amazon paid $50 million last year for the digital rights to stream the games on Amazon Prime, which was $10 million more then Twitter paid the year before. The digital rights for the upcoming season haven’t been sold yet, but are sure to bring in larger amounts than the last two years.
Though the television ratings have been down 9.7 percent, and players aren’t happy with Thursday night game assignments, believing that they don’t have enough time to recover and, thus, that the midweek games contribute to more injuries, the value of Thursday Night Football has continued to soar. “We will continue to work with the NFLPA to make the shorter week more attractive in a way that is better for our players,” Goodell said.
With the kind of money the league is getting for Thursday Night Football, it’s pretty much guaranteed the league and the union will work out a way to make the players happy and continue the Thursday night schedule. It could be as simple as throwing more money the players’ way.
Fox has been broadcasting NFC games on Sundays since 1994. It currently pays $1.1 billion a year to broadcast those games, a deal that runs through the 2022 season.