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On The Future of Thursday Night Football

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This rant isn't related directly to the Green Bay Packers, but it does have to do with the NFL labor negotiations. I'm sure it's not the players first choice, but as a fan, I'm glad to read that there might be more Thursday night football in the future. Pro Football Talk wrote about an eight game package that is being shopped to the higher bidder:

Ourand and Kaplan report that the league already has the right to peel back the games from CBS and FOX. Though this surely would result in a decrease in the CBS and FOX rights fees, any new revenue (approximately $700 million) easily would be offset by the reduction in revenue from CBS and FOX.

We’ve got a feeling that the net gain is a lot closer to $700 million than zero.

When I was in Dallas for the Super Bowl I heard a couple things about revenue from the players and owners that were related to the NFL Network. I've never liked that the NFL has pushed this network, and hasn't made it available on all cable networks.

First, I spoke with NFLPA executive George Atallah, who complained about the previous arrangement with the owners that allowed them to pay for the cost of the NFL Network before revenue sharing with the players. So it doesn't sound like the NFL Network is a big money maker.

Second, I heard Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speak about letting the owners grow the pie (increase revenues). I'm not exactly sure how revenue sharing held the owners back from making more money, but his statement came across implying he knew how to make them all (players and owners) richer.

It's hard to know for sure, because the NFL owners refuse to open their books, but why is the NFL Network receiving any of these games? It seems like the Jones is holding back a huge amount of broadcast revenue just to help the owners' NFL Network. Wouldn't the NFL make a lot more money if it sold these games instead of leaving them with a network that isn't available in much of the country?

I hate to be asking a lot of unanswerable questions, but at least I'm glad to read that the owners and players have agreed on more Thursday night football to help bridge the revenue gap, which will help end the lockout. And the prospect of even more Thursday night games is very appealing to me.