CBS, NBC to share ‘Thursday Night Football’ package with NFL Network next season

Preparations for the NFL Network telecast on Thursday Night Football at Gillette Stadium.
Preparations for the NFL Network telecast on Thursday Night Football at Gillette Stadium. –The Boston Globe

The NFL announced Monday it has reached a deal with CBS and NBC to share its Thursday Night Football package with NFL Network for the next two seasons.

CBS had exclusively shared the package with NFL Network in 2014 and 2015, broadcasting eight games nationally in the first half of the schedule. Under the parameters of the new deal, CBS and NBC will each broadcast five Thursday night games. All Thursday night network broadcasts will continue to be simulcast on NFL Network.

“We are continuing to make Thursday Night Football bigger and better. CBS has played an integral role over the last two seasons in helping build Thursdays as a night for NFL football, and we’re excited to have them on board again,’’ said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement issued by the league. “At the same time, we’re thrilled to add NBC to the Thursday Night Football mix, a trusted partner with a proven track record of success broadcasting NFL football in primetime.’’

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NFL Network will also exclusively televise an eight-game schedule of regular-season games comprised of Thursday Night Football, late-season games on Saturday, and additional games to be determined.

Both CBS and NBC will produce Thursday Night Football with their lead broadcasters and production teams, and both will contribute to the production of Thursday Night Football exclusively on NFL Network.

The NFL is in active discussions with prospective digital partners for streaming rights to Thursday Night Football. A deal announcement is expected in the near future.

“Our mission when we first put games on Thursday nights in 2006 was to work strategically to make Thursdays a night for NFL football in the mold of what Monday and Sunday nights mean to millions of fans across the country,’’ said Patriots owner Robert Kraft, chairman of the NFL’s broadcast committee. “We’ve made great strides since that point, and growing the base of games with CBS, now with NBC, and soon with digital streaming will only help us solidify this night in the consciousness of NFL fans here and globally.’’

For the 16 games of the 2015 schedule, Thursday Night Football on CBS and NFL Network averaged a 7.9 household rating and 13 million viewers.

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