NFL Expands 'Thursday Night Football' With CBS, NBC

The most powerful TV programming -- the NFL -- will be getting more airtime on network television. But not everyone will be profitable with the deal.

The football league is expanding its network TV games on Thursday night with CBS and NBC, airing five games each. Each network will pay around $225 million in two-year deals, reportedly. Cabler NFL Network will simulcast all of these broadcast network games.

CBS had aired eight games for each of the past two seasons of “Thursday Night Football” for around a reported $300 million per year in license fees to the league.

But Benjamin Swinburne, media analyst for Morgan Stanley, has written that CBS only sold $190 million in national advertising revenue in 2014 and $205 million this past year, 2015. He expects these losses to grow for other networks involved.



Other analysts say CBS gained major promotional value from having the NFL series, as well as adding more male-targeted programming into its prime-time schedule desired by major TV marketers.

NBC adds to its football riches; its “Sunday Night Football” series has been the No. 1-viewed TV series for the past few seasons, as well as topping all TV series among 18-49 viewers.

From 2006 through 2013, the NFL had aired Thursday night games, with contests airing only on the NFL Network.

The NFL also plans to sell a streaming video package for the Thursday games. This past season, Yahoo aired an exclusive regular season game featuring featuring the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars in London -- a game that was also aired in those teams respective local TV markets.

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