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CBS to air first eight 'Thursday Night Football' games (updates with FOX Sports statement)

By Ken Schott
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CBS Sports will be televising part of the "Thursday Night Football" package next season, the NFL announced Wednesday.

CBS will have the first eight Thursday games. CBS' broadcast will be simulcast on NFL Network, which has been televising Thursday night games. The deal is for one year, with an option for 2015. CBS' lead broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the games.

"We are very pleased to build on our outstanding partnership with the NFL by expanding our coverage to Thursday nights," CBS president Les Moonves said in a statement. "CBS is a premium content company and the NFL represents the best premium content there is. I look forward to all this new deal will do for us not only on Thursday nights, but across our entire schedule."

"The NFL is the most powerful programming in television," CBS Sports president Sean McManus said in a statement. "To add a prime-time NFL package to our successful Sunday AFC package further strengthens our position in the sports marketplace. We look forward to having Jim and Phil and our top production team showcased in prime time on Thursday nights.”

NFL Network will televise the remaining six Thursday games, as well as two Saturday night games late in the season.

"NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for 'Thursday Night Football' on CBS."

FOX Sports was interested in the package.

In a statement, FOX Sports said, "We were clearly interested in having 'Thursday Night Football' at FOX in 2014, and submitted a bid that we were sure would be competitive with those offered by other parties. We had terrific dialogue with the NFL during the process, and we believe that the Thursday night franchise has great value going forward. While disappointed to learn that the league has decided to go in a different direction, we’re already looking forward to Sundays next season. "

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