Thursday Night Football
Thursday Night Football is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League games that broadcast primarily on Thursday nights. Debuting on November 23, 2006, the telecasts were originally part of NFL Network’s Run to the Playoffs package. In 2018, the NFL reached a long-term deal with Fox to hold the rights through 2022. The games are broadcast on radio via Westwood One, which syndicates the broadcasts to its partner radio stations.
About Thursday Night Football in brief
Thursday Night Football is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League games that broadcast primarily on Thursday nights. Most of the games kick off at 8: 20 p.m. Eastern Time, but games in the package also air occasionally on Saturdays in the later portion of the season. Debuting on November 23, 2006, the telecasts were originally part of NFL Network’s Run to the Playoffs package. Since 2012, the TNF package has begun during the second week of the NFL season; the NFL Kickoff Game and the NFL on Thanksgiving are both broadcast as part of NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football contract and are not included in Thursday Night Football. In 2018, the NFL reached a long-term deal with Fox to hold the rights through 2022. The games are broadcast on radio via Westwood One, which syndicates the broadcasts to its partner radio stations around the United States. The NFL also began to sub-license digital streaming rights to the broadcast TV portions of the package to third-parties, beginning with Twitter in 2016, Prime Video in 2017, and Twitch in 2018, which Amazon and theNFL renewed their contract through 2022, according to the two companies’ respective websites. The other television deals generated USD 3.35 billion per year over an eight-year period for CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and DirecTV. Each game aired on Thursday night or Saturday night depending on which it aired on the night, depending on the game’s time slot. The package also includes a single Sunday morning game from London in the NFL International Series.
In 2005, when the NFL negotiated a new television contracts, Comcast offered to pay USD 450 million for eight- year contract to carry NFL prime time games. In exchange, Comcast planned to add NFL Network to its digital cable lineup, but the NFL Network decided to air the games itself. The league’s own regulations require the games to be syndicated to over-the-air television stations in the local markets of the teams. In 2007, when a game that saw the New England Patriots close out a perfect regular season was simulcast nationally on both CBS and NBC, in addition to NFL Network and the local stations that the game was sold to, following concerns from politicians and other critics. ABC televised occasional Thursday night games from 1978-1986 aspart of its Monday Night Football package. The only reason the league is even allowed to televise football games on Saturday night stems from a legal loophole: the league’s antitrust exemption, the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, was written when the regular season ended in mid-December, and as such, it contains specific language that prohibits televising NFL games in most markets on Friday nights and all day on Saturdays between the first week of September and the second weeks of December. Since most high school and college seasons have ended by mid- December, other than bowl games, there has been little desire to close this loophole, even though the NFL has been well beyond mid-September since the law’s passage.