Thursday Night NFL bids reported to be due in tomorrow

Tom Paine

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John Ourand of Sports Business Daily reports that bids on the NFL's Thursday night package are due in tomorrow, and most of the major networks are expected to enter bids, including Comcast's NBC. Ourand says ABC is especially eager to get back in the NFL, as its the only major over-the-air network without an NFL package (although its owner Disney does have MNF on ESPN).

Ourand says the NFL would like the Thursday night package to be on a broadcast network. But Joe Flint of the LA Times thinks a cable network may be a more likely possibility, mentioning NBCSports Network, which has long been rumored to be interested in Thursday night to boost its ratings and recognition, as a candidate.

Another issue the NFL must determine is how many games to put in a Thursday night package. It does not want to leave its own NFL Network too bare.

Update: Flint wrote today (Sunday) that NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt declined to confirm that NBC had entered a bid on the Thursday night package, but said "we’d love to have more NFL games," and "Thursday night games might be really interesting to us." Greenblatt's comments came at the semiannual Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena on Sunday.

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