NFL Liberates Nighttime Thanksgiving Game From NFL Paywall

For years, football tradition held that there were two NFL games each Thanksgiving. The league added a third game, played at night, and placed it on the NFL Network, which many cable subscribers need to pay an extra monthly fee to watch. Starting next year, all three Thanksgiving games will be on network TV, with the late game moving to NBC.

According to NFL Communications, the announcement comes as part of the league’s new TV deal, which runs through the 2022 season. ESPN has Monday Night Football locked down through 2021.

Other than the Thanksgiving night shift, everything is remaining the same for viewers. In the story, the league notes that games that air on the NFL Network and ESPN are also available on channels viewers in the participating teams’ markets can get over the air.

The tradition continues: NFL to remain on broadcast TV [NFL Communications via Pro Football Talk]

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  1. r-nice says:

    About time.

  2. fatediesel says:

    Everything is not staying the same. The NFL’s press release said that under the new TV deal the NFL Network has the ability to show more Thursday night games starting next season, so it’s possible the NFL Network will be showing Thursday night games all season long with the exception of week 1 and Thanksgiving when NBC shows Thursday night games. Under the current deal the NFL Network only shows 8 Thursday night games per year.

    • sponica says:

      the only reason I don’t like thursday night games is that it screws up my fantasy team….

      • JosephFinn says:

        Which reminds me I need to set my playoff roster for tonight…

      • consumeristjohnny says:

        I have this to deal with and also making picks for my pool. They must be in one hour before the first game of the week kicks off. I can not even try to make them until noon on Tuesday. This can be a real pain in the ass on weeks I am traveling.

    • soj4life says:

      I knew there was going to be a huge catch in there, the NFL is not going to make its network less appealing.

  3. GMFish says:

    Anyway we can get the Lions off? It’d be nice to start Thanksgiving with a watchable game.

    • Fumanchu says:

      the cowboys game is almost always quite entertaining, even if you don’t like either of the teams.

    • nicless says:

      Really? While I admit the Thanksgiving game was not their finest moment this season, they have really turned it around. I think they are building towards being quite a good team. Once they have some experience under their belt they’ll be a contender.

    • tape says:

      considering that the Lions invented the Thanksgiving game… probably not.

  4. Deep Cover says:

    Good news. The most annoying thing about going to “Grandma’s” house for Thanksgiving is that she doesn’t have the NFL network. It’s not like you can go to the sports bar down the street b/c they are closed that night also. So now we won’t have to miss the game (or get an illegal, bootleg internet feed).

  5. Cat says:

    WIN for free TV.

    ESPN sucks. (But there’s a way around that, too. http://www.playon.tv/supported-devices )

  6. rpm773 says:

    I tend to have a hard time remembering that the NFL network exists and is available in my channel line up. It would be nice if all of those Thursday night games moved to ESPN or NBC.

    • Remmy75 says:

      yeah but if they didnt have games on NFL network, nobody would EVER watch it, and cable providers wouldnt carry it.

      • sponica says:

        I thought like that once…and now for some reason I only watch NFL Network….even in the offseason when NOTHING HAPPENS (especially this offseason…)

        I really don’t like NFL Network’s play by play announcers and that’s why I don’t really like watching the NFL Network games

  7. blogger X says:

    The League needs to end showing the Lions and the Cowboys every damn year. They both suck.

    • BGCurator says:

      As of today, the Lions qualify for the playoffs and the Cowboys are but one game back.

      • blogger X says:

        I understand, that doesn’t account for the last decade of the Lions not making the playoffs, and the Cowboys not doing anything after making the playoffs.

  8. HammRadio says:

    Also… CBS and FOX are not limited to ONLY one conference’s games. If you are a fan of an NFC team, and your team is playing another NFC team on Sunday afternoon, you were assured your game will be on Fox. And vice versa… When the “flexible schedule” season begins… games could be on other networks

    Younger folks usually don’t care as their Guide or DVR or tivo or whatever will tell them which channel your game is on. But believe me as someone who fields calls from parents looking for which channel the game will be on will feel some pain.

    In Philly, You would be sure that an Eagles-Giants game (not on Sunday, Thus, Monday nights) would be on FOX. Now that game… COULD be on CBS.

    • Cat says:

      If you have no program guide, try Titan TV – http://www.titantv.com

      Totally customizable and quite accurate.

    • sponica says:

      I’ve NEVER seen 2 NFC teams play each other on CBS. The only time an NFC game is on CBS is when the NFC team is hosting the AFC team. For example, this Sunday’s matchup between the Jets and the Eagles will be on CBS whereas the Christmas Eve game between the Jets and Giants will be on FOX because it’s an away game for the Giants.

  9. Cat says:

    “With Latest Network Agreements, the N.F.L. Outdoes Even Itself”

    Over nine years, starting in 2014, CBS, Fox and NBC will together pay an average of about $3 billion a year, more than 50 percent higher than their current deals.

    Fox’s average rights fee will jump to about $1.1 billion a year from $725 million in 2013. CBS’s payments will increase to nearly $1 billion from $625 million, and NBC’s fees will go to $950 million from $612 million. ESPN’s recent agreement can be added to that. Three months ago it approved a 73 percent increase to $1.9 billion annually for eight years.

    Taken together, the four networks, in addition to DirecTV, which pays $1 billion a year for its Sunday Ticket satellite package, will pay the N.F.L. more annually than any sports league has ever been paid. Of course, the previous record-holder was the N.F.L.
    Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/sp…rity.html?_r=1

  10. Murph1908 says:

    What I would have like to have seen was the ‘protection’ of the home market by not showing a game on the other channel when the home team is playing. If a metro area can’t support a team (I’m looking at you, Tampa and Miami), forcing them to watch that team on TV won’t help.

    • consumeristjohnny says:

      I have this to deal with and also making picks for my pool. They must be in one hour before the first game of the week kicks off. I can not even try to make them until noon on Tuesday. This can be a real pain in the ass on weeks I am traveling.

  11. alexwade says:

    Sounds good. Now if the NFL would get off its rear-end and start putting Super Bowls in cold outdoor stadiums! Snow just makes football much more exciting. If the big investors can’t bundle up, then that leaves more room for bigger fans.

    Next up, make the halftime show worth watching. 20 minutes of commercials would be less annoying than the halftime shows of the past few years. Actually, 20 minutes of static would be less annoying too. I rather watch a history of cheese than a halftime show with Madonna.

  12. dork says:

    Cable games are only available over the air in the team’s primary market, and often just on that one station closest to that team. I live just inside the blackout radius of my local NFL team. I’m close enough to the stadium to get blacked out, but not close enough to get the only station that will carry the game OTA if it’s on cable.

    • sponica says:

      write your congressperson! no really, I think that’s how the NH ABC affiliate airs Patriot games that are on MNF.

      I remember some senators and congressmen trying to get the NFL to consider Maine and VT as part of the home market for the Patriot games.

      On the one hand it’s nice that the NH affiliate has the games….on the other hand, it’s really annoying to have 3 networks (2 OTA and 1 cable) airing the same game….