Fox Lands 5-Year Deal for NFL's 'Thursday Night Football' TV Rights

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The network will pay $550 million per year for five years.

Fox is reportedly closing in on a deal to broadcast the NFL's Thursday Night Football package in 2018.

The combination of the "Thursday Night Football" package, along with the NFC Sunday package FOX already has the rights to, means FOX will be spending $1.75 billion per year on the rights to broadcast NFL football games.

The move cements the mid-week games into the schedule despite criticism from players who feel the weekly game has led to an increase in injuries. The agreement allows the NFL to further develop digital-distribution models for Thursday Night Football as well as for Fox's Sunday games.

Thursday nights have become football nights for a lot of Americans.

But the thing is - and this is what often gets lost when talking about NFL ratings going down - pro football's popularity has a very long way to fall before it hits bottom.

"Football is in our blood at FOX and we understand that nothing beats the NFL when it comes to television that captures people's attention", 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice said in a statement. The press release stated that NFL Network will "exclusively televise seven games next season".

The National Football League announced that FOX (KVRR, Fargo) is the home of Thursday Night Football beginning with the 2018 season.

The NFL created the Thursday night package in 2014, and for each of the past three seasons the right were sold on a year-by-year basis. NBC will continue to air the season-opening Thursday night game and the Thanksgiving night game.

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. The 11 Fox games will be simulcast on NFL Network and streamed by an as-yet unidentified digital player.

The networks anxious that the Thursday prime-time games contributed to over-saturation that was a factor in declining pro football ratings overall.

Paying more, TV sports executives expect Fox to take a bigger loss.

CBS and NBC paid a combined $450 million to air 10 games previous year. They will also be distributed on Fox Deportes.

CBS and NBC paid roughly $45 million per game for 10 games.

According to live+same day primetime ratings from January 25, 2018, Fox lagged behind ABC, CBS and NBC.

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