Fox Forks Over $3 Billion for 'Thursday Night Football' Rights

Thursday Night Football is likely heading to Fox in 2018. More

Also of note, according to Ourand, FOX does not plan to use its lead broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for the Thursday Night games.

FOX will carry 11 games between Weeks 4-15, with the games being simulcast on NFL Network. That said, Fox's deal includes expanded digital highlight rights and the company will partner with the National Football League in selling the upcoming season's streaming rights.

"We feel very confident in their ability to continue to grow this franchise", NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a conference call Wednesday morning, per Rovell. NBC's "Sunday Night Football" was the top-rated prime-time program previous year, according to Nielsen, although it, too, suffered a ratings decline; and 37 of the 50 most-watched programs in 2017 were NFL games, per the Los Angeles Times. CBS and NBC have indicated their interest in airing the games could wane if licensing costs rose without any new benefits, according to people familiar with the situation.

"NFL football continues to be the most valuable commodity in all of media", said Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox.

Fox agreed last month to sell cable channels FX and National Geographic, its movie and TV studio and worldwide assets to Disney. Twitter and Amazon have each previously streamed Thursday games. NBC and CBS reportedly paid a combined $450 million to air their 10 games this past season. 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.

The network and the league are working out an agreement on the broadcast package, Bloomberg reported.

Thursday Night Football offers fans less downtime from week to week in consuming football, though it has come with some criticism.

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