Fox, TV Groups Take Stock Hits

Some TV station-based media stocks -- 21st Century Fox and major independent TV station groups -- witnessed sharp declines on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Fox announced a major five-year deal to run NFL’s “ThursdayNight Football” series. Fox stock fell 4% to $36.88 in mid-Wednesday trading.

Newly reported estimates are that Fox is paying an average of $660 million for 11 games a year ($60 million per game), with year one costs at $560 million to $585 million ($52 million per game).

This would be a sharp price increase from the $45 million per game, on average, for the five games that CBS and NBC each ran this past year. Both networks have reportedly lost money on NFL series.

Based on this data, John Janedis, media analyst from Jefferies Group, the investment/securities firm, said: “With a less robust programming slate, we believe that ‘TNF’ will be unprofitable for Fox, with the incremental losses from the deal likely in the range of $100 million to $150 million in year one.”

(Fox likely already loses money on its Thursday entertainment slate in prime time.) 

Other major TV station groups also had declining prices for their respective stocks; some have stations that are Fox affiliates.

Sinclair Broadcast Group was down 2.9% to $37.35, while Tegna fell 2.8% to $14.92, Nexstar Media Group was off 2.7% to $75.70 and Gray Television was down 2.0% to $16.65.

Dow Jones Industrials Index was up 0.6% to 26,224, and the Dow Jones U.S. Broadcasting & Cable Index was down 0.6% to 1,356.

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