The NFL currently airs on five networks in a given week and the NFL is looking to make that number a little higher. With CBS and FOX dominating Sunday afternoons, NBC owning Sunday night and ESPN the home of Monday Night Football, the NFL wants to expand Thursday night games beyond just their own NFL Network and are accepting bids from other networks for package rights.
According to The Wall Street Journal, ABC, TNT and TBS are among networks that have entered or are expected to enter bids for games that the NFL is offering on Thursday, Saturday and possibly even Sunday.
All of the networks have a history with the NFL, as ABC was the traditional home of Monday Night Football for decades before moving to ESPN, while Turner is starting to carve out a home in the sports market with their recent expansion.
Turner currently airs March Madness games on their family of channels, including TruTV, and they also have an exclusive playoff rights package with the MLB to air their first two rounds of the baseball postseason. In addition to that, TNT currently has a sweet deal with the NBA and adding NFL games back to the network would round out Turner’s sports domination.
FOX, CBS and even NBC are expected to submit bids as well, but it’s possible that the NFL accepts a lower bid from a network that doesn’t air the NFL as a way of increasing it’s brand and spreading it across as many networks as possible.