After being the first network to move the NFL into primetime with Monday Night Football, ABC is currently the only one of the four major broadcast networks that doesn’t own an NFL package. From 1970 to 2005 ABC televised Monday Night Football before the program moved to ESPN and ABC Sports became ESPN on ABC.
The previous contract for Thursday Night Football was split between CBS and NBC. A 450 million dollar contract, each network paid $45 million per game. In December, Ourand reported the NFL is open to changing the “TNF” broadcast and how it’s delivered to consumers. In addition to CBS and NBC televising “TNF,” it was also streamed on Amazon this past season.
Amazon paid $50 million for the rights to stream 11 NFL games, after Twitter paid $10 million for the same rights the year before. Yahoo also streamed NFL games this year, including the divisional round of the playoffs and will stream Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl.
ESPN, who still has not named a president since John Skipper resigned in December, pays $2 billion for their Monday Night Football package. Their MNF contract with the NFL expires in 2021 and reports in the fall had some questioning whether or not the NFL was getting too expensive for ESPN. It would be a surprise if ABC, which owns ESPN, wanted to take on an additional NFL expense with a Thursday Night Football package.