Much to the delight of NFL fans, Thursday Night Football is taking its next steps into the battle for your living room. What once started off as a half-season worth of games expanded to the entire season for the last two years and now is going even further.
Starting with the 2014 season, the first eight games will be shown on CBS and will be simulcast on the NFL Network. The league’s cable network will keep the second-half games for itself. Also, contract is only for one year, and the league has an option to extend it for 2015.
Four quick takeaways regarding this one.
1. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure
The commissioner’s taking a page out of Vince McMahon’s WWE playbook here. We’re looking at several days per week where the NFL will hold prime-time slots. That means more face-time for players, more air time for jerseys and just all around more of everything NFL for the ever-watching eyes of men, women and children. TNF already benefited from extremely high ratings and the jump to the far more accessible CBS will add the to the number of viewers who tune in every week.
2. Cable Companies Are Getting The Short End Of The Stick
Bringing the games to basic cable is great news for cord-cutters who no longer have to find a wanky online stream to keep up (HDTV antennas FTW!). The move to CBS will give the network a coveted prime time spot that will reach into the maximum amount of households that it can. And nobody needs Comcast, Dish, DirecTV, or AT&T to tune in.
3. Ad Revenue Will Rise, Dramatically
Easier accessibility means increased viewership, higher cost for ad spots, and of course more money in the NFL’s pocket. Effectively, Thursday nights can potentially have the same reach as the marquee Sunday night matchups, if not more. However, always covering its bases, the league will also be airing the games simultaneously on NFL and will keep the final eight contests exclusively for itself.
4. It Could Also Pave The Way For An Expanded Season And/Or Playoffs
It’s the natural evolutionary process for the money minting machine that’s the NFL, and we can now safely say that any health and injury concerns from the players have been completely and utterly disregarded. This move proves that it’s profit over everything, and the league clinging to that mentality gives even more ammunition to the possibility of an expanded playoff system, and/or two additional games.