New ‘Thursday Night Football’ Deal Means More OTA Games

February 24, 2016

Why the New ‘Thursday Night Football’ Deal is Actually a Good Thing for Cord Cutters

Alright football fans, if you’ve been following the news over the last couple of weeks you might have heard about a big deal reached between CBS, NBC, and the NFL. Seems that while all the excitement centered on the Super Bowl earlier this month, the executives at the NFL were making deals behind closed doors.

As a cord cutter I’m naturally nervous about deals between the NFL and broadcasters. It’s the greed of sports leagues and broadcasters that have put a sizable portion of professional sports on cable television; so anytime a “deal” is reached, it’s easy to be suspicious.

So what does this brand new deal between broadcasters and the NFL mean for cord cutting football fans? Surprisingly, quite a bit; and today we’re going to dive into the deal and take a look.

NFL Thursday Night Football


For approximately $450-$500 million, both CBS and NBC will split coverage of Thursday Night football for the next two seasons (2016 and 2017). Each network will get five games each, for a total of 10 games, and the NFL Network will simulcast every game; along with eight exclusive matches.

Both NBC and CBS will still use their own crew and broadcasters.

As far as online streaming goes, neither network will have the rights; which is a HUGE blow for CBS and NBC.  Instead, the NFL will look for streaming partners from the tech industry. The most likely candidate is Yahoo, who worked with the NFL to stream one game in the 2015/16 season.

“We are continuing to make Thursday Night Football bigger and better,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. Goodell later commented that the league was looking “forward to expanding with a digital partner for what will be a unique tri-cast on broadcast, cable, and digital platforms.”

Winners & Losers

Now that we know what the deal is, let’s talk about winners and losers.

The biggest winner of this deal has to be the NFL itself. Last year, the NFL charged CBS $300 million for broadcast rights to eight Thursday Night Football games; equaling out to $37.5 million per game. With this new deal, not only is CBS getting fewer games (only five per season) but they’re also paying much more for each game; approximately $45 million per game.

NBC is probably comes in second as far as winners go for this deal. Last year, NBC had no Thursday Night Football games and now they have five. Not only that, but they are also the only broadcast network to have TWO primetime NFL games a week (Sunday Night Football and now Thursday). Good job NBC.

The biggest loser of this deal is most definitely CBS. Last year they had eight games for $300 million, now they have five games for $250 million a season. Not too good for them. Not only that, but now NBC is encroaching into their primetime space. Ouch.

How This Affects Cord Cutters

So what about you, the cord cutting football fan? Cord cutters fall somewhere in-between the winners and losers. On the one hand, not a lot is gained from this deal. On the other, we have two more OTA games this season; which is always something to be excited over (beyond all of the Sunday games that are broadcast over-the-air).

Perhaps the best news for cord cutters in this deal is the NFL’s continuous flirtation with live online streaming. While not a lot has materialized yet, between their overhaul of NFL Game Pass and their desire to broadcast more games online, it has never been better for someone seeking a cable TV alternative. Overall, I’d say this was a good deal for cord cutters and NFL fans.

What are your thoughts about this deal? Let us know in the comments below or sound off on social media!

The post New ‘Thursday Night Football’ Deal Means More OTA Games appeared first on Mohu.

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