The NFL reached an agreement with FOX Sports to broadcast the next five seasons of Thursday Night Football beginning with the 2018 season.
"This agreement is the culmination of over 10 years of strategic growth around Thursday Night Football, a period during which this property has grown from a handful of late season games on NFL Network to a full season of games, and one of the most popular shows on broadcast television with additional distribution via cable and digital channels," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "As one of the leaders in sports television and a recognized innovator of NFL game broadcasts for many years, we're excited to be extending our partnership with FOX Sports, one of our most trusted and valued partners, to include Thursday Night Football."
The agreement is a five-year deal that includes 11 games between Weeks 4-15 — excluding Thanksgiving night — to be broadcast on FOX, simulcast on NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes.
NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games next season, with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games. As home to the number one NFL package for the past 24 seasons, FOX Sports adds Thursday Night Football to its current Sunday NFC package agreement.
This announcement allows FOX Sports and the NFL to each expand its digital rights, enabling the network to distribute both Thursday Night Football and its Sunday games to FOX subscribers over an array of digital platforms, including, for the first time, mobile phones. The agreement also allows the NFL to further develop digital distribution models for Thursday Night Football and FOX's Sunday games.
"Football is in our blood at FOX and we understand that nothing beats the NFL when it comes to television that captures people's attention," said 21st Century FOX President Peter Rice. "Our historic relationship with the NFL dates back to the earliest days of FOX, and we couldn't be more excited to expand our deep and enduring partnership to include primetime games on Thursday night."
The NFL is the most valuable content in sports with nine of television's 10 most-watched programs in 2017. In the 2017-18 FOX NFL regular season, America's Game of the Week averaged 22,745,000 viewers, which ranks as television’s number one show for the ninth straight year.
Additionally, FOX NFL Kickoff and FOX NFL Sunday enter the 2018 season as the top ranked NFL pregame shows in their time slots. The OT, FOX's postgame show ranks 8th among prime time's top-20 programs.
Presented by Bud Light, Thursday Night Football is a top-5 program and the number two show in primetime. With the Thursday Night Football package, FOX now has 3 of the 5 most-watched shows in all of television — America’s Game of the Week, NFL Sunday single header and Thursday Night Football.
This marks the fifth media rights deal between FOX Sports and the NFL, starting with the December 1993 agreement that solidified FOX as a major broadcast network.