NFL Network Teams With Fox Sports in Second Year of Thursday Night Football Partnership

Culver City, CA, headquarters joins the fun via at-home production

The banana land known as Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season is history, but the Thursday Night Football schedule is just getting started exclusively on NFL Network with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers from Bank of America Stadium tomorrow night. With Fox Sports in the production driver’s seat (and Amazon Prime Video handling one side of the digital distribution), NFL Network will once again be simulcasting 11 of the 13 games on the schedule and providing comprehensive pre/postgame coverage.

“We’re going to do our pregames from both outside of the stadium with the fans tailgating and also from inside as we get closer to game time,” says David Shaw, VP, production, NFL Media. “We have an extensive REMI-type setup where we work with [the team] in Culver City, CA.”

Setting the Pace: Onsite Studio Shows Keep TNF Fans Engaged
In any sport, a good game needs context to enhance the before and after discussions. For Thursday Night Football, the NFL Network crew will provide informative content that starts hours before the ball is kicked off and finishes well after the final whistle.

“Fans will be able to stay with us the entire way since they will never have to turn off our network,” Shaw says. “Viewers will get the inside view of everything that is going on in the league as well as getting ready for that Thursday night’s game.”

Shaw and company will pull out all the stops during this year’s coverage. Onsite versions of NFL Total Access and NFL GameDay Kickoff will have a total of eight cameras, including a jib and other resources shared with the Fox team. The show will be run in 1080i through Game Creek Video’s Glory mobile unit outside the stadium, but the Culver City team will be involved in multiple ways via an at-home model.

“We’re all about getting information from everywhere by going back and forth to our feeds all around the country, with talent talking about the game,” says Shaw. “We have a production team back at home for our [pre/postgame] shows and as backup [during the game] just in case anything goes wrong at the stadium or if Fox runs into any issues.”

In addition, transmission of the productions will be a mixed bag. On Fox, the game will be distributed in 720p, but, on the NFL Network simulcast, the broadcast will be upconverted to 1080i. DirecTV viewers will receive the game in 4K.

The Gang’s All Here: On-Air Talent To Make Onsite Appearances
In 2019, a bevy of NFL Network personalities will make the weekly trip to each game’s location.

Before the game, fans will be treated to various programs, including TNF First Look with Andrew Siciliano at 3 p.m. ET; NFL Fantasy Live with Cole Wright, Rhett Lewis, Michael Fabiano, Adam Rank, Marcas Grant, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Maurice Jones-Drew, Cynthia Frelund, and Graham Barfield at 5 p.m.; and NFL GameDay Kickoff with Colleen Wolfe, Joe Thomas, Steve Smith Sr., and Michael Irvin at 6 p.m.

When the game ends, fans can wrap up the night with TNF Postgame at approximately 11:30 p.m. and NFL Total Access at midnight ET with Lindsay Rhodes, Scott Hanson, Willie McGinest, David Carr, and James Jones.

It Takes Two: Fox, NFL Network Commit to End-to-End Coverage
NFL Network and Fox Sports are working on improving their efforts from the first season of their partnership. Although the actions on the field ultimately dictate the discussions that bookend the productions, the duo is dedicated to merging their efforts to provide plenty of offerings for the diehard football fan.

“We handle the booking of crews for the pre/postgame shows, while Fox deals with the logistics on the game side,” Shaw says. “We have separate crews in different trucks, but we work closely with Fox to coordinate the entire production as a family.”

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte, NC, at 8:20 p.m. tomorrow. Fox simulcasts will begin in Week 4 with a contest featuring the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field at 8:20 p.m. And stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more coverage of the production plans for Thursday Night Football next week.