The proposed full season slate of Thursday night NFL games could begin as soon as next season, according to a report by industry publication Sports Business Journal.
The new eight-game package could begin as soon as the 2012-13 season, and would combine with the nine existing Thursday games (eight on NFL Network and the NFL Kickoff Game on NBC) for a full season run of Thursday night football.
ESPN.com reported last week that the expanded Thursday slate would not begin until the 2014, when NFL’s current deals with CBS, FOX and NBC are set expire. However, sources told Sports Business Journal that the NFL “currently has the rights to take enough games from CBS and Fox’s Sunday afternoon schedules to fill the new eight-game package,” (sportsbusinessdaily.com, 6/27) making the delay no longer necessary.
Turner Sports and Comcast are “the most serious bidders” for the new package, with games potentially airing on Turner’s TNT, TBS or TruTV or Comcast’s Versus. FX, ESPN, and Spike TV were also mentioned as potential suitors.