So it's kinda old news at this point, but I didn't hear about it til today.
MINNEAPOLIS – The NFL's Thursday Night Football broadcasts are moving to Fox.
The league and the network announced Wednesday that they have agreed to a five-year deal that will keep the NFL's Thursday night games on Fox through 2022. Fox will pay more than $3 billion over the length of the deal (in excess of $600 million per year), a person with knowledge of the details told USA TODAY Sports. The person was granted anonymity because financial terms were not made public.
"We had a tremendous amount of interest from all of the broadcast partners, all of which wanted the rights exclusively," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on a conference call. "They were willing to not split the package, and we felt that this was the best opportunity for the NFL to continue to grow the Thursday Night package."
The deal includes 11 games per season from Week 4 through Week 15, with the exception of Thanksgiving night. All 11 games will also be simultaneously broadcast on NFL Network, which will exclusively televise seven games in 2018.
"These opportunities come along very infrequently," said Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox. "You either have the rights to the most-watched content in media or you don’t. If you lose that auction and you don’t take that opportunity to expand this partnership, this won’t come up again for another five years, so we are doing it to strengthen Fox broadcasting."
Fox was one of several major networks to submit a bid for Thursday Night Football rights. CBS and NBC, who paid $900 million combined over the previous two-year deal, also submitted bids.
“We explored a responsible bid for Thursday Night Football but in the end are very pleased to return to entertainment programming on television’s biggest night," CBS said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
Goodell said the Fox deal will still allow the NFL to shop the digital rights for the Thursday package. The games were streamed on Twitter in 2016 and Amazon in 2017.
"We will continue to have the digital rights, which we will explore and deal with in the next several weeks in partnership with Fox," Goodell said.
We about to get PeyPey in the booth, y'all.
Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is in talks with both Fox Sports and ESPN to become a color analyst for either “Thursday Night Football” or “Monday Night Football” games, TheWrap is told by multiple people with knowledge of the conversations.
Manning’s agent, Sandy Montag, is apparently looking for $10 million per year for his client’s services. That would be an enormous sum of money for the actual amount of work involved — but Manning’s star power and crossover appeal just might be worth it. After all, Fox just dropped $3.3 billion for those “Thursday Night Football” rights, so why stop writing massive checks now?
Plus, the “TNF” ratings have been pretty rough after the last few NFL seasons and a mainstream star might be just the kick in the pants the newest night in football needs.
And just one season into his own color commentator role at CBS Sports, retired Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo has kicked down the door and opened up wallets for the service’s of Papa John’s former BFF.
Beyond the $10 million price tag, Manning and Montag have another request — they’d like Mike Tirico as their play-by-play man. There’s just one problem with that: Tirico is currently employed by NBC Sports, the place he left ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” to be.
Tirico, who is also repped by Montag, is interested on heading to rival Fox once a week should this work out. Bob Costas’ Olympics successor actually wanted the “Thursday Night Football” gig when he moved to NBC, but the NFL blocked him, insisting instead on the primetime “Sunday Night Football” team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth pulling double-duty.
Such an agreement would finally bring Tirico back to calling weekly NFL football. It also wouldn’t be unprecedented: Fox and ESPN currently share Alex Rodriguez for baseball, for example.
f the Tirico-share doesn’t work out, however, we’re told Joe Buck is also being considered to take on the new Thursday night duties (with or without Peyton), and will continue to work Sundays with Troy Aikman.
ESPN needs Manning even more on Mondays, however. The self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports is losing popular “Monday Night Football” color analyst Jon Gruden back to the NFL, where he will again coach the Oakland Raiders. And ESPN doesn’t exactly have a ton of talent to backfill the crucial role: lesser-know Louis Riddick has expressed interest in taking over the spot, and while another ex-NFL quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, is more of a name and also waiting in the wings — he’s certainly no Manning.
Should Manning end up at ESPN, it is unlikely Tirico will join him back there. Tirico’s replacement, Sean McDonough, seems to have job security at “Monday Night Football.”
James Pitaro, the brand new president of ESPN, has a tough call ahead of him. On the one hand, landing Manning fills a need and could make a huge first splash. On the other, overpaying for a guy to work a couple of times a year might be a bad deal for a company hemorrhaging cable subscribers.
Fox Sports and ESPN declined comment when reached by TheWrap. We did not immediately hear back from our request for comment from Montag’s The Montag Group.