Thursday Night Football isn’t necessarily beloved, as many football fans (and even players and coaches) have voiced displeasure about the product’s existence. However, the NFL knows it can make gobs of cash by having another night of football on the air and, in 2017, the combination of CBS and NBC joined NFL Network in broadcasting the package.
In looking ahead to 2018, though, things could get very interesting with a few new networks making plays for the broadcast rights. This week, Bloomberg reported that both FOX and Disney (through ABC) are submitting bids for the package and, in addition, both Amazon and Facebook could be in the mix for primary rights.
With the streaming services in mind, former CBS president Neal Pilson shed light on a potential decision for the league to make:
“The league is going to make a watershed decision on whether to go for money or for distribution. With conventional networks like NBC or CBS you’re talking about distribution that’s reasonably guaranteed.”
With an online-only broadcast by a tech giant, “you might lose a substantial part of your audience. However, they might offer more money,” he said.
It seems safe to assume that the NFL could simply roll with the NBC-CBS combination to reasonable success but, considering what the league has dealt with in terms of falling ratings, expansion (or movement) could be interesting. If nothing else, this is a situation to follow closely and it could affect many television sets (or computers/tablets) beginning in September.