The National Football League is shopping a new early-season 8-game package on Thursday nights to interested TV networks, according to Sports Business Journal. The deal would be for the first half of the season, and could bring as much as $700 million to the league.
According to SBJ, the two leading contenders for the package are Turner Sports, which would add games to TBS, TNT or TruTV, or Comcast, which would put the games on its cable sports network Versus. NBC already has a deal with the NFL for Sunday night games. NFL network is the home for Thursday night football in the latter half of the season.
The new revenue could offer solace to the league after it was rebuffed on its efforts to expand the schedule to 18 games from 16 games. The players have fought fiercely against that proposal, so in a way, the league is selling a new half-season this way.
“There’s going to be another package because when this [labor] deal finally happens, somebody is going to have to pay for it,” said one network executive, who asked not to be identified. “Part of it is going to be paid by a new NFL package.”
Thursday night games generally are not popular with coaches and players, and they usually don’t draw the audience that NFL games bring in other time slots. But the league views Thursday night as the best night to roll out a new package.
Read the whole story from SBJ, here.