CBS lands Thursday Night Football deal, but no digital rights… yet

CBS and the NFL have agreed to partner on at least one more season of NFL Thursday Night football in 2015, after last year’s experiment paid big dividends for the league and network.

CBS landed a similar deal to its experiment with Thursday Night Football this past season. In 2015, it will produce all 16 games, which will include two late-season Saturday games, and will broadcast the first eight games of the season on CBS, with a simulcast on the NFL Network. The final eight games will be broadcast on the NFL Network only. In their first season together, CBS got seven Thursday night games and one Saturday night game late in the season.

Last year, according to published reports, Thursday Night Football ratings were up by as much as 300% for the CBS broadcast games.

“The NFL continues to be the best premium content in the business and we look forward to another year of our expanded partnership,” CBS chief Les Moonves said. The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed, but CBS likely paid more than the $275 million it paid in 2014.

With CBS scheduled to broadcast the 50th Super Bowl in 2016 from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, early speculation was that CBS would be able to wrangle a deal for some digital rights to NFL games, allowing it to push some live NFL games to its new streaming service, CBS All Access, which costs consumers $5.99 a month.

But, direct digital rights weren’t included in the latest deal. That doesn’t preclude CBS from negotiating later for those rights, they’re just not there now.

What did come out of the deal, however, is a plan to develop a raft of new programming that will run on both the NFL Network and on various CBS platforms…

Stay tuned.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn