Fox Swipes Up NFL's 'Thursday Night Football' Package With Five-Year Deal

Report: Thursday Night Football is heading to Fox next season

The deal comes at a time when Fox's broadcast network is getting ready to separate from a wide variety of other entertainment assets now owned by parent company 21st Century Fox, the bulk of which are in the process of being sold to Walt Disney. Amazon paid a total of $50 million for rights to Thursday Night Football on their digital service past year, Twitter owning rights previously in 2016. The games will be simulcast on the NFL Network and the Spanish-language Fox Deportes channel.

Under terms of the new pact, Fox will air 11 "Thursday Night Football" games each season, a format that effectively replicates last season's bifurcated broadcast package.

NFL ratings declined almost 10% in 2017, marking the second straight year ratings dropped, with the average weekly viewers for Thursday Night Football reportedly dropping to 10.9 million from 2016's 12.4 million. Although ratings for Thursday games were down in 2017, "TNF" still had better numbers by a wide margin than any non-sports programming on either network.

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Fox reportedly won the bidding war over CBS and NBC, which aired TNF games the past two seasons. And in a departure from the NFL's unofficial policy of doling out short-term leases on the Thursday night games, Fox's stewardship of the weeknight window will extend through 2022-which is when the existing Sunday afternoon and Sunday night deals are set to expire.

Vikings quarterback Case Keenum holds the Fox NFL silver football after a game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Detroit.

"NFL football continues to be the most valuable commodity in all of media", 21st Century Fox President Peter Rice said. The company has proposed to sell the bulk of its assets - including its various TV production studios - to Walt Disney Co.in a deal valued at $52.4 billion. Fox already airs National Football League games on Sunday afternoons. Ourand adds that Fox "will have expanded mobile rights". Amazon paid $50 million this past season to stream the games on Amazon Prime, up from the $10 million Twitter paid in 2016.

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