WSJ: NFL foregoes deals and brings games to own network

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the National Football League has decided to televise a package of games on Thursday and Saturday nights starting next season on its own cable channel, rather than selling the package to an existing network.

The decision Friday came after talks ended with Comcast Corp. on a joint venture that would have placed the eight late-season games on the company’s OLN network or created a new sports network, people familiar with the talks said.

The games mark the first time the league has ventured outside of its traditional Sunday and Monday nights for a regular television package. Industry executives had estimated the value of the Thursday-Saturday games at about $400 million.

By keeping the games in-house, the NFL foregoes that income. But it also instantly increases the value of its NFL Network, which debuted two years ago and shows old games, highlights and other original nongame programming. An NFL spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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