Although Thursday Night Football has provided additional business opportunities for the National Football League, the expansion into prime time on Thursday evenings has been met with negative reviews. Bad matchups and a lack of ratings and buzz have forced league officials to reevaluate their current game plan, with sources telling Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that there’s a possibility the league will eliminate Thursday night play or alter the current approach at the conclusion of its current agreement with CBS and NBC. The NFL’s agreement for Thursday Night games runs through the 2017 season.
The league has paid attention to the feedback of the public. They recognize that the Thursday games have produced less appealing matchups, much of it due to each team having to play once on a short week each season. There’s also growing concern that oversaturation has impacted Sunday and Monday night’s.
It remains possible that the league could continue with Thursday night games in their present form. They could also choose to start a Thursday night schedule with the Thanksgiving night game when the stakes are higher and the playoff picture is easier to navigate. A reduced schedule though would likely mean lower rights fees from the league’s television partners.
Thursday Night Football was originally installed to help the league draw new fans to its owned and operated television channel, the NFL Network. The NFL has since moved away from that approach, choosing to make the games available to broader audiences on local television. The change of approach has also helped the league generate higher television revenues.
The question now is whether the financial rewards are worth the negative media attention, and dissatisfaction of the league’s players and the general public.