The one-year deal with the
As part of the agreement, the league-owned
The pact with CBS does not change the NFL's deal with
Other bidders for the package included
For the NFL, the new pact will give it a chance to dominate another night of prime-time television. Its Sunday night game on NBC is usually the most-watched show of the year.
One of the criticisms of the Thursday package on the NFL Network is that the games have not been as high-quality as the games on Fox, NBC, CBS and
While the bigger CBS platform will no doubt increase the audience, NFL schedulers will be under pressure to provide better matches without diluting the Sunday games.
"Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility," said NFL Commissioner
Although the NFL Network will no longer be the sole home of Thursday football, it will still have enough exclusive games to maintain the high fees the channel gets from pay-TV distributors. According to industry consulting firm SNL Kagan, the monthly cost of the NFL Network to distributors is about $1.40 per subscriber.
For CBS, the deal will strengthen its already powerful Thursday schedule. CBS will delay the launch of its prime-time shows including the hit comedy
If the one-year experiment pays off for the NFL, it has the option to renew the agreement with CBS.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint