If you have been an avid follower of this site, you know that we at Awful Announcing are not fans of the NFL Network Thursday Night Football package. The games are usually sloppy and the matchups aren't as attractive as Sunday or Monday contests after a full week of rest.
Still, the National Football League wants to build Thursday night into a destination for fans. However, the ratings have yet to generate big numbers for the NFL Network. Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that he was pleased with the ratings growth for Thursday Night Football, but you know he would like higher viewership numbers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league is considering adding a second game to Thursday night creating a doubleheader and potentially getting more interest in the package.
"The process is still in the preliminary phase, (a) person familiar with the league’s strategy said. Executives have discussed the issue with media outlets but the league isn’t shopping a specific package and no formal offers have been received, the person said.
"Adding another several hours of football on Thursday nights would have significant implications in the TV industry. Thursdays have historically been a big night for advertisers like auto makers and movie studios looking to promote weekend openings. As a result broadcast networks put some of their best shows on that night."
Now here's where it gets interesting. The NFL could keep the current 13 games on its own network, then sell a second package of contests to another network. The conventional wisdom is that the NFL could sell the second package of Thursday night games to a cable sports network, get CBS, Fox, NBC and Turner to bid against each other and gain a lot of cash in the process.
But Matthew Futterman and Shalini Ramachandran of the Journal add a tidbit to potentially throw some fear into the traditional TV networks.
"Potential buyers of the games would likely be national cable sports networks. But league officials have also considered selling the Thursday night package to a nontraditional media partner, including online players like Netflix Inc. or Google Inc., the person said.
"The league believes it can work with a new entrant just as it did in the 1990s when it joined with with satellite television provider DirecTV to create NFL Sunday Ticket, which gave subscribers the ability to view every NFL game throughout the season rather than limiting them to games in their market and those that are nationally televised...."
There's that Google threat again. Does it seem familiar? It should. Back in August, we told you that the NFL was talking to Google about distributing the NFL Sunday Ticket package. Mentioning Google strikes fear into the TV networks as losing the NFL to an online provider would be a big blow to all the nets which are trying to expand their cable sports portfolios.
So there are four things we have learned.
1) The NFL is thinking about expanding the Thursday Night Football package.
2) The league is looking to add another revenue stream either through traditional media or an online provider.
3) The NFLPA will likely be furious about asking teams to play even more Thursday games on short rest than they already are.
4) This story is not going to go away anytime soon.
An extra Thursday night game would have to come from CBS and Fox and you know neither network would be happy to be paying beaucoup bucks for a smaller Sunday afternoon inventory. This story is in the infancy stage. Stay tuned for upcoming developments.
UPDATE, 10/16/13, 11:30 a.m.: NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted a denial to the Wall Street Journal story and the league offered this statement to Pro Football Talk:
"We have not discussed or considered a doubleheader on Thursday night"
Between players dancing after touchdowns and tackles when their team is down by 27 points, the trend toward QB's finishing with more rushing yards than the starting RB's, and these stupid Thursday games, my interest in the NFL product wanes year by year. Now they want to add another Thursday game?
Pools & fantasy are the top reasons that the NFL has become so dominant. Thursday games make me less likely to participate in either going forward. By Tuesday I already have to start thinking about the coming weeks games.
Goodell is turning the old axiom "keep them wanting more" over on it's head. To the detriment of the NFL.
NO GOD NO.
Thursday night football SUCKS.
Once in a while is OK but less is more here. all about player safety, yeah right....
I do not like thee Roger Goodell.
Why that is, I cannot tell.
But this I know and know full well.
I do not like thee Roger Goodell.
I imagine Rog & his team of idiots sitting down w/ a meeting agenda headed "Thursday Night Football: How can we make something awful even worse?"
I wrote last year that the NFL should move the package to Tuesday Nights. And I still believe that. The Thursday night thing aint working.
Here's my piece on it: http://stholeary.blogspot.com/2012/11/TuesdayNightFootball.html
So the NFL has recently discussed expanding the playoffs and now this Thursday night thing. It's apparently Horrible Idea Month.
So a second game will start at, what 10pm ET, on a school / work night. I hope it features a west coast team every week, otherwise no one will be watching.
Roger, you are in charge of an enormously successful sport. Do right by the sport, not the damn cable channel.
I love football as much as the next football fan but the one thing the NFL consistently overlooks is the fact that for the most part both the Thursday night game and the Monday night game both usually suck. always terrible match ups and almost always a blowout. unless its the team you root for most fans don't care because as much as ESPN would have you believe the Monday night game is special and the NFL network would have you take the Thursday night game seriously both are way overhyped. the best games are still on sunday and every football fan knows that.
Here's a thought - maybe instead of being greedy and risking players health, enjoy having games on Sundays and Monday nights and leave the other nights for the other sports (baseball, basketball, hockey)
I am down to just watching my team (college and NFL) when they are on. EPL and MLS has replaced much or my football watching. With changing rules, concussions, and this type of NFL scheduling nonsense I can see a future time where my football intake gets even smaller.
Terrible idea if your gonna add another game then add a Pacific Time Zone game to Sunday or Monday Night
Never mind what the players, teams, and even fans want right? As long as the league can keep coming up with more and more gimmicks for the networks to fork out more cash, they're good. This is the second worst idea, only behind the 18 game schedule.
Fuck that shit! No more Thursday night, Sunday night or Monday night games unless my Jets are playing. Only way to stop evil is to stop watching.
My NFL interest decreases every year, and this is probably the reason why. It's just becoming so excessive. They just don't know when to stop.
Good gawd the ginger hammer is a moron...if this must be done, didn't the Raiders/Chargers game a couple weeks back show that a Pacific time zone Sunday night late game is the way to go?
@McTickster More likely they would move the start time of the first game up to something like 5:30 or 6 PM, like they do for the Monday Night Football opening night double header. They would then start the late game at the 9 or 9:30 range. Doing so would eliminate many East Coast viewers for the late game and Pacific coast viewers for the 1st half of the early game, but it would be more friendly for the Central, Mountain, and Pacific.