CBS has won the network derby to claim the NFL's Thursday Night Football package.
In a stunning announcement, CBS will become the first broadcast network to air live NFL games on a weeknight since ABC moved Monday Night Football to ESPN in 2006. The deal is only for one year (with a league option for a second) and gives CBS rights to 8 early season Thursday night games, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network. This is what the shield was looking for all along and is the ultimate win-win for the league. Not only do they own another major TV night in the fall, but they also keep live games on NFL Network with the unique simulcast arrangement.
NFL Network will exclusively air the final 8 games in the package late in the season, which will include 2 Saturday night football games, presumably after the college football season has concluded. The NFL did not have any Saturday night games this year, so we can all welcome back the return of Thursday Night Football Special Editions on Saturdays.
Interestingly, NFL Network talent will be intermingled with CBS Sports talent for studio coverage before and after the game and at halftime. Also, CBS says their lead announce team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will announce all Thursday night games. It remains to be seen what happens with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock or which talent from either network will be used for studio coverage.
UPDATE: AA has learned that plans are in place for Jim Nantz and Phil Simms to work a partial slate of Sunday afternoon games for CBS in addition to the Thursday Night package. It's likely that Nantz & Simms will work most CBS games that will air in the 4:25 ET national window, but the pair will have some Sundays off. It's not known at this time who will pick up CBS's top Sunday game when Nantz and Simms only work Thursdays or Saturdays.
This is a huge win for CBS as the NFL is the best thing going on television right now and all the major networks were competing for this package. It'll be interesting to see the impact on CBS's primetime lineup as The Big Bang Theory and other popular shows currently air on CBS Thursdays, but for right now they can celebrate the biggest victory of the NFL offseason so far.
UPDATE II: The NFL now says the two Saturday games will take place during a Week 16 doubleheader. Presumably, both of those games will air on NFL Network but given the fluid nature of this announcement, don't set that in stone just yet.
Congratulations…..my question to CBS, What will happen to the highly rated shows we love so much on Thursday? CBS was doing so well on their line up.
Sad to see Mayok not doing games. He is always prepared and provides awesome analysis. Simms adds nothing.
I like this new deal as I am not able to catch NFL games on Sunday Afternoons, because of NASCAR, however I would've liked to have seen Fox, or NBC Get It, and Put It On NBCSN, Or FS1 which would've helped them, but at the end The NFL wanted to have Thursday Night Football on a Broadcast Network, rather than a Cable Network, so even Turner was a long shot at getting it, I anticipate that CBS, will put some of the later games, or the originally scheduled matchups that NBC would've have on Thursday night, so with that being said I think it will do great, and also if the NFL decide to expand TNF to 16 Games, my Favorite to Pick The Rights up would be ABC and with them getting it spring them back into the Super Bowl rotation with NBC, CBS, and Fox, so yeah I think CBS will probably have Thursday Night Games For At Least 2-5 Years maybe 6 Years Depending On How Long CBS Has Them Probably By 2021-2022 CBS would have to give up on The Thursday Night Package So That They Can Focus On Negotiating For The AFC Package, like both Turner, and ESPN/ABC Gave up NASCAR To NBC, So That They Can Focus On The NBA, So if I was working for CBS I would let somebody else get the Thursday night games, allow the NFL network expand it's 2 Saturday night games that they will get, and my favorite to get the Thursday night games beyond 2021-2022 would be ABC, if I was to be working for Disney this would be a golden opportunity to extend the contract for Monday night football on ESPN, then take the Thursday night football away from CBS, and put the games on ABC, and ABC would join NBC, CBS, and Fox As the networks that rotate the coverage of the Super Bowl!
There's many questions from this deal that make me ponder. I tried to answer some of those questions here http://jmanmediazone.blogspot.com/2014/02/cbs-thursday-night-football-coming-soon.html
I hate hate hate this decision. Would have loved it to go to NBCSN, FSI, or ABC. FS1 and NBCSN need content and ABC could use it as a springboard to get back in the Super Bowl rotation.
One of our staffers mentioned the possibility of using BBT as a lead-in, if that were possible. Could you imagine the ratings?
I say give Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts more high profile games. They are probably the only really good announce team CBS has.
There is an easy solution for the league to make Thursday games better and get more money from the networks.
Expand the season to 18 weeks and add a second bye. And as part of that second bye, teams will have the week off before playing a Thursday game.
It provides an extra week of programming of games for the networks, thus the NFL can demand/get more money from them. It improves the Thursday product. And with extra time off, the league can play up the safety aspect of it.
AHA so there was that provision I believe you even mentioned recently that NBC and Fox wanted to put those on NBCSN or FS1? IIRC that was most likely the deal breaker with those two!
You'll hear it in Simms disdain for it! And I'll say GOOD maybe next time you network nitwits wont sell out so quickly!
First, I'd like to say that I'm glad CBS got this package, but that I'd've been happy with anyone, really, except Fox. Second, does this mean Jim and Phil will be doing two games a week (Thurs and Sun) or does their Thursday night game replace their Sunday appearance?
As long as I don't have to hear Jim Nantz remind me that CBS is America'sMostWatchedNetworkOnlyCBS 37 times a game, this might be tolerable.
There was a provision in the negotiations saying the games had to be on network TV and not cable - we're assuming that's why NBC and Fox weren't all in.
It's not mentioned whether the network pushed the league to have teams coming off a bye week play on TNF to improve play quality. It's going to be interesting listening to Simms and Nantz calling games of quality similar to last season's. Will they also do the Sunday games?
Ugh! Worst possible network won. This package could have been used to boost NBCSN/FS1 with pre & post game shows. NFL got whats best for them & CBS rents out 8 days to boost ratings.
@DianneBrost Those shows will probably premiere after CBS completes its Thursday night packages. It gets those shows away from the MLB Playoffs on TBS and FOX and allows them to air their season with fewer repeats.
@iam4pack he'll still be calling ND games, WC games on NBC and he might even work the studio for TNF games so you won't miss much of him.
Very good write up. Keep up the good work.
@ChampSB3233 I also have been saying an 18th week should be added in the form of a second bye week, with that bye week tied to Thursday games (which also would allow the NFL to occasionally have teams play back-to-back weeks on Thursday, especially around Thanksgiving).
I read on some Sundays they won't do a game. My guessing it'll be a week when they don't have a double header. Also CBS will only carry 8 games, so I'm guessing Jim and Phil won't do the latter 8 games. I do wonder if the opening game will be on CBS or still on NBC.
I'm sure the money they get from calling those prime time telecasts will be the reason they will be.
Because many suppliers still do not have the network in their basic packages, Mine does not have it in HD, it's in less markets than NFL Network.
@chicorican knowing NFL Network was still going to air the broadcasts, a cable network was not really going to get as big a boost as a major network would by getting it.