Report: NFL Network will carry eight prime-time games
NEW YORK (Ticker) - It appears the NFL will create a late-season television package for itself.
The New York Times is reporting that the league will place eight prime-time Thursday and Saturday games on its NFL Network, starting in 2006.
The league’s network, which currently has about 35 million cable and satellite subscribers, has shown only preseason games in the past.
The NFL is richly compensated in television deals with CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and DirecTV. ABC’s contract with the NFL will expire after Super Bowl XL on February 5.
According to the New York Times, the NFL Network schedule will be made up of games that would have been on Saturdays late in the season on CBS or Fox, or on those networks’ regional schedules. The first game will be on Thanksgiving night between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
The games will also be shown by local broadcasters in the markets where they are being played.
Just nine months ago, the NFL completed deals with NBC (six years, $3.6 billion) to carry Sunday night games and with ESPN (eight years, $8.8 billion) for Monday night games.
In November 2004, CBS and Fox extended their Sunday deals for six years.