Thursday Night Football offers fans less downtime from week to week in consuming football, though it has come with some criticism.
"We thought making a long-term commitment was in the best interest of our product and the ownership group", said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
The interruptions in the fall schedule, which remains a key launchpad for networks' primetime shows, may have been a factor in the thinking at CBS and NBC, each of which submitted bids to continue airing Thursday night games.
As has been the case for the last four seasons, NFL Network will televise the remainder of the 18-game "TNF" package. The two networks paid the same amount for the rights in the 2016-2017 season as well. Games were streamed on Amazon Prime in 2017. (This excludes the Thanksgiving night game, which will still air on NBC).
21st Century Fox has reason to try to capture the games. The games will be simulcast on the NFL Network and the Spanish-language Fox Deportes channel. League officials, however, have not found any statistical value in gauging shorter rest versus normal rest. SN's Michael McCarthy noted ratings for National Football League regular-season games fell by 9.7 percent this season. Twitter has been broadcasting the games as the digital partner under the previous contract.
CBS said in a statement, "We explored a responsible bid for Thursday Night Football but in the end are very pleased to return to entertainment programming on television's biggest night".
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