Thursday Night Football is coming to broadcast television.
In early January, a report emerged that the NFL had begun shopping a one-year contract for its midweek game. Turner, FOX and NBC were all mentioned as possible landing spots, but the NFL's long-time broadcast partner CBS beat out the competition, the NFL announced Wednesday morning.
“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” said Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”
The deal calls for CBS to air eight Thursday night games early in the season, with the NFL Network broadcasting eight late in the season. The package will also include a double-header in Week 16, though the destination for those games is still unclear. As reported earlier, the deal spans just the 2014 season, with the NFL holding an option for a second year. The New York Times reported that the deal is believed to be worth at least $250 million.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will anchor CBS' broadcast, and that will become their primary focus, with each receiving a few Sundays off during the season, per the Times. “The NFL is the most powerful programming in television,” said Sean McManus, chairman for CBS Sports. “To add a primetime NFL package to our successful Sunday AFC package further strengthens our position in the sports marketplace.”