CBS Sports Nabs NFL Thursday Night Football Package
CBS Sports has landed the hotly contested NFL Thursday Night Football package for the 2014 season.
The lead CBS Sports production team headed by producer Lance Barrow and director Mike Arnold will produce and televise all 16 Thursday-night games next season, with the first eight weeks airing on CBS and the final eight airing on NFL Network.
The agreement is for the 2014 season with an additional year at the NFL’s option. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that the initial bids on the package were in the high $200 million range for the year.
“We are very pleased to build on our outstanding partnership with the NFL by expanding our coverage to Thursday nights,” said Leslie Moonves, president/CEO of CBS Corp. “CBS is a premium content company, and the NFL represents the best premium content there is. I look forward to all this new deal will do for us not only on Thursday nights but across our entire schedule.”
CBS’s eight early-season games will also be simulcast on NFL Network. The mix of games will include 14 on Thursday nights and two late-season games on Saturday.
“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”
The full slate of 16 regular-season games will feature CBS’s lead broadcasters and production team, including Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, on all Thursday-night games. In a new twist, NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows along with CBS Sports announcers.
“The NFL is the most powerful programming in television,” said Sean McManus, chairman, CBS Sports. “To add a primetime NFL package to our successful Sunday AFC package further strengthens our position in the sports marketplace. We look forward to having Jim and Phil and our top production team showcased in prime time on Thursday nights.”
The package is a big win and added NFL dates on the calendar for the CBS production team, which is led by Ken Aagaard, EVP, operations, engineering and production services; Harold Bryant, VP, production; and Steve Karasik, VP, remote production, at CBS Sports.