CBS To Continue With Thursday Night Football Next Season

Even though the current NFL season has yet to reach its peak in the annual “I Watch It for the Commercials Bowl,” the professional sponsorship league that also involves football has already announced some plans for next season, like the fact that CBS will continue to prop up the NFL Network by airing a bunch of primetime weeknight games again.

Just like last year, CBS will air Thursday Night Football for the first half of the season and will continue to produce TNF even after the games finish up the season on the NFL Network.

“We are pleased to extend our partnership with CBS for Thursday Night Football,” explained NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in between his normal duties of making sure that players are wearing the right headphones and eating the official league pizza. “The promotion and production by CBS and NFL Network last season made Thursday night a night for NFL football. We look forward to working again next season with CBS.”

In translation: “We look forward to having Thursday games that people actually watch.”

Before the deal with CBS, TNF had trouble bringing in the audience of Sunday afternoon games, let alone the ratings of either Sunday or Monday night games.

The big question for CBS going into last season was whether Thursday games would be worth justifying eight weeks of switching around network hits like Big Bang Theory and/or delaying some shows until later in the fall.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the ratings were decent in the early weeks of last year’s test run, but ratings sagged as the weeks went on and blowout games — like the Packers’ 42-10 whomping of the Vikings, or the NY Giants 45-14 thrashing of Washington — became the norm.

Of course, as we told you a few months back, CBS’ advertising rates for Thursday games were the second-highest of all network broadcasts — second only to NBC’s Sunday Night Football coverage. A single 30-second commercial on TNF could run a sponsor more than $480,000. That’s about $140,000 more per ad than the aforementioned Big Bang Theory, the most expensive non-football show for advertisers.

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