Networks still want the NFL
Remember all of the talk that National Football League television ratings were dropping and that it meant something, just what that something was or is we don’t know but it meant something. As it turns out, CBS, NBC, and FOX are interested in signing up for the now available NFL Thursday night package although industry reports suggest that CBS and NBC, which each paid $450 million for the rights to show five games or $90 million a game, want to keep the programming at less money. But there is another bidder and while Thursday night TV ratings did drop, Thursday night football ratings remain strong when compared with other network programming. The NFL has limited the over-the air Thursday night package to just 10 games. Separately, there are eight additional games that ended up on the NFL Network, six Thursday night contests and two others. The doomsday pundits seemingly don’t understand that overall television ratings in the United States have dropped. There are just too many shows, too many ways of how a product is delivered. A television set used to be the only way to see a program but that is not the case today. Verizon just paid the league $1.5 billion over five years to stream Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night NFL games. Verizon wanted to boast its AOL, Go90, Complex and Yahoo! brands with NFL properties.
The NFL will also be looking to find another platform for Thursday night football. Last year, Amazon paid $50 million for the streaming rights for the Thursday programming which was a 16 game package. Facebook may not be bidding for the product though. Facebook has made a big financial sports commitment to stream Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, college football and European soccer games over the past two years. NFL TV audiences have diminished but video money is pouring into the league.