NBC gets Thanksgiving NFL game under new TV contract


by Associated Press


Posted on December 14, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 14 at 2:22 PM

NEW YORK -- The NFL has renewed its television deals with CBS, Fox and NBC for nine years through the 2022 season, the league announced Wednesday.

The current contracts expire after the 2013 season.

The deals will also expand the number of Thursday night games on NFL Network, but the league has not determined how many additional contests will be aired. The current package includes eight games during the second half of the season.

"These agreements underscore the NFL's unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "The agreements would not have been possible without our new 10-year labor agreement and the players deserve great credit. Long-term labor peace is allowing the NFL to continue to grow, and the biggest beneficiaries are the players and fans."

Earlier this season, the NFL and ESPN reached an eight-year extension to keep "Monday Night Football" on the cable channel through the 2021 season.

CBS, Fox and NBC will each televise three Super Bowls during the length of the contracts, continuing the current rotation.

Terms of the deals were not immediately available.

"No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does," CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement echoed by his counterparts at the other networks.

Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill called the sport "the greatest television property in the world." NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said "there is no more powerful programming on television."

The nine-year terms are the longest for NFL television agreements with over-the-air broadcast networks. The previous longest were the eight-year deals with CBS, Fox and ABC from 1998-2005.

CBS will continue to show the AFC package on Sunday afternoons as it has since 1998, while Fox still has the NFC package that it first acquired in 1994.

"Sunday Night Football" will remain on NBC, which picked it up in 2006. The network will add the annual Thanksgiving prime-time game starting in 2012 and will exchange one of its current wild card matchups for a divisional playoff game.

Flexible scheduling will stay in effect to ensure quality late-season matchups on Sunday late afternoons and nights. It will be expanded in 2014 to allow some AFC games to air on Fox and NFC games on CBS, with all the details yet to be worked out.