The big surprise when only three TV networks submitted formal bids for the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package was who did NOT submit a bid. Sports Business Daily reports that ESPN, which was expected to put in a bid to air games on ABC this year, dropped out, with only CBS, Fox and NBC now in the running.
The report notes that the “TNF” games, which have come under criticism, may wind up moving to a new TV home.
“Sources say that CBS and NBC submitted bids that would pay a lower rights fee than they currently pay — a combined $450M per year,” the story reports. “Both networks lost money on the current package and sources say advertiser interest in the package is not as keen as it used to be.”
Fox, on the other hand, reportedly put in a bid that ups the current rights fee.
“Fox’s aggressiveness comes as it wants to make a statement about the broadcast network’s future and wants to make a point that it still will be active with sports rights in the wake of Disney’s pending purchase of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets and RSNs,” the story notes.
Turner Sports, which is usually a bidder, also opted out this time. Both CBS and NBC have gone on the record saying they lose money on the “TNF” package.