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Thursday Night Football Hurt CBS’s Bottom Line

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo: AP Images/Invision

Most people do not concern themselves with television networks financial reports. But, there are a very small number of people who own National Football League franchises who probably were not pleased with CBS reporting that revenues between October and December 2016 were down and that Thursday Night NFL telecasts on the network had a hand in the decline.

That is important because the Thursday night TV package is up for renewal following the 2017 season. In 2016, the NFL struck a two-year deal with CBS and NBC to carry Thursday night contests with each network getting five games a year. The 20 games were sold for $900 million, a number the NFL likes and would like to expand upon in 2018. But there is a problem. The NFL had eight percent less viewers in 2016 than in 2015.

Baltimore owner Steve Bischiotti thinks there are too many commercials within the games which disrupts the viewer’s experience and perhaps less commercials would bring back viewers. That seems to be the talking point that Commissioner Roger Goodell has pushed. But without the commercials, the NFL would not get CBS, NBC and FOX to give them billions for the programming.

Perhaps fans are getting tired of franchise moves, there have been nine moves since the early 1980s with one pending. Oakland’s Mark Davis is thinking of going to Las Vegas. Most of the moves were on the public dime. There were also all the arrests over the past decade for murder, domestic violence and a variety of other crimes. There is also the head injury crisis that is not going away. Throw in the decline in the participation of youth in the feeder leagues, you begin to identify some problems. There are too many games available, Sunday, and Monday and Thursday from the NFL, Saturday, Thursday, Friday from the colleges. It’s not about too many commercials.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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