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FOX obtains rights to 11 NFL Thursday Night Football games

01 February 2018

The report actually puts Fox's payout at an average of $550M each year to carry 11 Thursday Night Football games each season, to be simulcast on NFL Network and the eventual digital-rights partner.

But for Thursday, November 22, when Fox will air the late-afternoon Thanksgiving Day game from Dallas, the network's new National Football League slate will air across consecutive weeks, stretching from Week 4 of the 2018 season through Week 15. The NFL is still taking bids for the digital rights, with Amazon and Twitter expected to be among the bidders.

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While the deal has not been completed, Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick and Lucas Shaw reported Fox "submitted a bid that's higher than the $45 million a game CBS and NBC agreed to pay previous year".

The NFL announced Wednesday morning that the package will go to Fox for the next five seasons. As part of the deal, Fox picked up expanded mobile rights for its Thursday and Sunday games.

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"Football is in our blood at FOX and we understand that nothing beats the NFL when it comes to television that captures people's attention", Peter Rice, the president of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement.

Players have long argued that Thursday Night Football games make it harder to stay healthy due to shorter rest. Although ratings for Thursday games were down in 2017, "TNF" still had better numbers by a wide margin than any non-sports programming on either network. Tuesday night that Fox had submitted a bid that would be higher than the $45 million per game agreed to last season by CBS and NBC. The deal signals a renewed commitment toward the value of sports rights for Fox, as the company looks to venture forward focused on the Fox broadcast network and Fox Sports and News channels, which are not covered in the Disney deal. Fox would keep its Fox broadcast network, Fox Sports and FS1 cable network, leaving it more reliant on live sports broadcasts to draw audiences.

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NFL ratings declined almost 10% in 2017, marking the second straight year ratings dropped, with the average weekly viewers for Thursday Night Football reportedly dropping to 10.9 million from 2016's 12.4 million.

FOX obtains rights to 11 NFL Thursday Night Football games