Theis looking to sell six to eight of the 13 games it carries Thursday nights on NFL Network to one of its existing broadcast or cable partners — CBS, Fox, NBC or ESPN — or TNT, which once carried games.
The league, which has explored the idea of selling the games for a while, is awaiting formal responses from interested networks by Friday.
In a statement, Brian Rolapp, the chief operating officer of NFL Media, who will become the head of NFL Network in the spring, said the “network has done a great job turning Thursday into a night for N.F.L. football.”
“We want to make it even bigger and accelerate its promotion and growth with an additional partner,” he said.
If the league likes an offer it receives, the winning network will televise the games in the first half of the season, which would ideally give a promotional boost to NFL Network for its later-season games. The league’s preference would probably be a broadcast network like NBC, CBS or Fox, but it would also be pleased if a cable channel got the package. It is conceivable, for example, that ESPN would buy the deal and put the games on ABC, its sibling network in the Walt Disney empire.
Each of the networks to receive the proposal from the league reaches more television homes than NFL Network’s estimated 72 million. In 2013, NFL Network’s games averaged eight million viewers, its most ever.
In the N.F.L. television universe, games are expensive and highly rated commodities. Before the N.F.L. decided to put eight games on its network in 2006, it contemplated selling them to Comcast-owned Versus (now NBCSN) for more than $400 million a year.
The league decided to build its own network with the games, which allowed it to charge cable and satellite operators more each month.
Source: NY Times, 1/12/14