ABC, Turner Broadcasting Among Bidders for NFL Thursday Games (Report)

11:43 AM PST 01/20/2014 by THR Staff
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Offers were expected Friday for a package of six to eight games currently airing on the league's eponymous network.

The NFL confirmed last week that it was in discussions with broadcast and cable networks to air a package of its Thursday night games, and now some of the companies interested in those games have been revealed.

CBS, Fox, ABC (the only Big Four broadcaster without NFL games), and Turner Broadcasting had all either submitted bids or were expected to have done so as of late Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

During Sunday's TCA panel, NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt declined to confirm whether NBC had submitted an offer for the package but it's believed that all four broadcast networks have done so.

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"It's something we're talking about. We have a great relationship with the NFL," Greenblatt told reporters. "We'd love to have more NFL games, and Thursday night games might be really interesting to us."

The NFL is accepting offers for a package of six to eight games in what would be a one-year deal, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

The games offered are expected to include some of the 13 games currently airing on the NFL Network, but the league could move some games from Sunday to Thursday or shift games from Thursday to Saturday, the Journal added.

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The NFL would prefer to license the rights to the package of games to a broadcast network instead of a cable network in the belief that doing so will generate higher ratings and a larger valuation for the games when they're put back on the market the following year, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

NBC's Sunday night NFL games have been the top-rated primetime program on TV for the past two years, pulling in more than 21 million viewers last season. The NFL Network's Thursday night games averaged 8 million viewers last year.

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