Yesterday we reported that CBS out bid ESPN/ABC, FOX, NBC and Turner Sports to land the coveted Thursday Night NFL Game of the Week package. CBS will air eight early season games that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will also televise eight late-season games in the run-up to the playoffs. The mix of games will include 14 on Thursday nights and two late-season games on Saturday.
A number of reports including Sports Business Journal and BuzzFeed reported that CBS paid the NFL around $200 million dollars for the one year contract. There is an option for 2015, which by the way is when the NFL will likely to expand the playoffs and that will bring in even more TV money to the league.
When the deal was announced yesterday it was Les Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS Corp. who was there making the announcement along side of Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. This deal likely took some money from both the networks entertainment and sports budget.
The move by CBS to add the NFL to their Thursday night lineup was not just a sports move it was also an entertainment one as well. CBS has the number one rated network in television and Thursday night is one of their strongest night’s of the week. The night features the top rated comedy on television, the Big Bang Theory, Robin Williams new hit show, The Smart Ones and the very popular Elementary.
Now CBS cuts out any threat to that top dog status by adding the NFL to their entertainment portfolio. NBC’s Sunday Night Football has been the top rated show in prime-time for the past three years and CBS feels that Thursday Night Football, even if it is only half the schedule is better than nothing.
The NFL Network was also a big winner, they will simulcast the games on their network with their pregame, halftime and post game talent working along side the CBS team. They also win big because they get Jim Nantz and Phil Simms for the entire 16 game schedule along with the talented CBS production crew.