The NFL is looking to expand its broadcasting rights to other networks in the near future, and that has led to the rights of Thursday Night Football games going to the auction block. NFL Network is expected to hang onto some games, but the NFL is looking to sell the rights package to the highest bidder.
According to the Wall Street Journal, ABC, TNT and TBS have all entered the bidding process to win the rights to Thursday Night Football games. Current NFL partners FOX and CBS are also expected to enter bids by Friday as well, with NBC remaining mum on their decision.
All of the networks submitting bids have had history with the NFL, as ABC used to air Monday Night Football until it switched games over to ESPN, while Turner Broadcasting also held rights to air NFL games on TNT back in the early to mid 90s.
Turner making a bid for NFL games is interesting play, in that they’re slowly building a sports brand on their family of networks. Turner currently airs March Madness games on all of their networks, including TruTV, and have a nice package with the NBA to air games on TNT. The network also airs MLB games on TBS including an exclusive package for the first two rounds of the postseason.
The Wall Street Journal also mentioned that the winning network could potentially see games on Saturday and Sunday as well as Thursday.