NBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN and Turner all bid for NFL's Thursday Night Football

Michelle Clancy | 21-01-2014

All four of the NFL's network partners NBC, FOX, CBS and ESPN have bid for the Thursday night football television package, sources are saying.

A "person with knowledge of the bidding process" told The Associated Press that Turner Sports has also bid.

The league has always used its own NFL Network to televise the Thursday games, but has now decided to put the 13-game series up for bids music to broadcasters' ears.

"We'd love to have more NFL games," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said at the Television Critics Association meeting in Pasadena, California. "Thursday night games might be really interesting to us. I just can't say. I mean, it's something we're talking about, and we have a great relationship with the NFL."

ESPN would likely air the Thursday night games on its sister channel, ABC, the source said. And rather than cut into its prime time content, FOX could leverage Fox Sports 1. For its part, NBC could use its own cable sports network, NBCSN as an outlet for the games. Wherever they're shown, it's likely to continue to be a big ratings draw Thursday night games averaged eight million viewers on NFL Network this past season, making it the day's most-watched programme on cable during the season.