FOX catches $3BN NFL TD pass for Thursday Night Football

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The NFL and Fox Sports have agreed to a five-year deal to broadcast "Thursday Night Football", according to a joint press release sent out by the network and league on Wednesday. Thursday Night Football previously aired on both NBC and CBS, with the two rival networks splitting a 10-game package each of the past two seasons as part of a deal that reportedly cost them a total of $450 million annually.

Under terms of the new pact, Fox will air 11 "Thursday Night Football" games each season, a format that effectively replicates last season's bifurcated broadcast package.

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The move cements the mid-week games into the schedule despite criticism from players who feel the weekly game has led to an increase in injuries.

"The NFL is going to see an erosion, a further erosion in their ratings and their revenue", said Sean Hannity, for one, calling into Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" last fall. "We now have the two most watched shows on Thursday, including the #1 show on television in Big Bang Theory, and the #1 new show on television in Young Sheldon".

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Thursday Night Football is changing networks once again. "We'll now continue on keeping NBC's Sunday Night Football at its perch as primetime's number one program". John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that the deal should pay the National Football League somewhere in the neighborhood of $550 million per season through 2022.

Wednesday's deal reaffirms Fox's mission to become a leader in sports after it closes its deal with Walt Disney.

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Multiple media reports indicate that Fox will not be required to use its No. 1 announcing team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the Thursday night games. In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com and FOX Sports GO. The CBS package was more steady; per Nielsen, the network's average draw of 14.1 million viewers and an 8.6 household rating represented a 4 percent dip versus its 2016 "TNF" deliveries. The announcement was made together today by Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner and Peter Rice, President of 21 Century Fox. Amazon was believed to have paid the league $50 million for the rights to stream the TNF broadcast a year ago. This looks a lot like previous CBS and NBC contracts.

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