NFL Denies It Is Looking To Get Rid Of Thursday Night Football

Image courtesy of ken fager

It hasn’t been a banner year for the NFL, with ratings now sagging for what had seemed to be an unstoppable TV sports juggernaut. Now the league is fending off rumors that it has plans to get rid of meh-rated Thursday Night Football when its current TV deals are expired.

The Thursday night games are branded under the league’s NFL Network umbrella, but the network also shares broadcasting of many of these games with CBS and NBC. That lack of a dedicated major network may have something to do with Thursday’s low ratings.

On Sunday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that the NFL was looking at whether to reduce or get rid of Thursday Night Football after the 2017 season when its existing Thursday arrangement with CBS and NBC comes up for renewal.

Before my Eagles got thumped by Packers last night, the league released a statement, claiming it is “fully committed to Thursday Night Football and any reports to the contrary are unfounded.”

The Wall Street Journal notes that the league has not yet met with CBS and NBC to discuss the future of the Thursday night games, but that it’s unlikely they would vanish entirely. That’s because the NFL Network must carry at least eight games per season, and Thursday is really the network’s only opportunity to air a game that wouldn’t go head-to-head with another game broadcast on a major network.

One good piece of news from the Journal story is that the NFL will no longer air its London games at the ungodly hour of 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT. Instead, those games will once again air in the afternoon.