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CBS, NBC split 'Thursday Night Football' package

CBS, NBC split 'Thursday Night Football' package
The NFL on Monday awarded its "Thursday Night Football" package to CBS and NBC. Each network will have five Thursday night games, beginning this fall. Pictured: Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T. Y. Hilton and Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman compete during Sunday's NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu. (Eugene Tanner / AP)

CBS and NBC are splitting the NFL "Thursday Night Football" package beginning this fall, in a high-profile compromise that underscores the value of professional football to TV broadcasters.

CBS, NBC and the NFL announced the new partnership Monday, just days before Super Bowl 50, which will be televised by CBS.

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Each network will pay about $225 million a year for the rights, according to a person close to the negotiations who asked not to be identified discussing deal terms. The NFL "Thursday Night Football" package, which will be in its third year on broadcast TV, attracted interest from all of the networks that have NFL rights.

CBS and NBC each will broadcast five Thursday night games.

CBS will claim the early season games, which will help the network to promote its new fall schedule. NBC will pick up the games that run in the second half of the season, when the divisional races heat up.

All of the games will be simulcast on the NFL Network, which helps the NFL by providing high-quality productions for its cable channel. The deal with CBS and NBC covers the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Each network will produce the games that they broadcast, utilizing their own NFL announcing teams and other personnel.

Streaming rights for the NFL games still are up for grabs. The NFL is in discussions with prospective digital partners over those rights and could reach an agreement in the coming days.

The new package bolsters the revenue the NFL generates on Thursday night games because the league will collect checks from two networks -- not one as they have in the past.

Nomura Securities media analyst Anthony DiClemente estimated the cost of each Thursday night game increased 20% to $45 million, up from $37.5 million in 2015.

Last year, CBS paid about $300 million for the rights to eight Thursday night games during the first half of the season. CBS has had rights to the franchise for the last two years.

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