Earlier today, the NFL announced the expansion of it's Thursday night lineup on NFL Network. The league will now play a Thursday night game from weeks 2-15, with the Week 12 (Thanksgiving evening) contest being broadcast on NBC.
From the league's release:
New 13-game Thursday night slate runs from Weeks 2-15
All 32 teams to play in primetime in 2012
New Spanish-language NFL RedZone channel to debut in ‘12
NFL Network will televise five additional regular-season games in 2012 as part of its Thursday Night Football package, NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL announced today.
The Thursday Night Football schedule on NFL Network will now feature 13 games, all on Thursdays, from Weeks 2-15 (skipping Week 12). In previous years, the NFLN slate included at least one Saturday night game. NBC will televise the Thursday night game on Thanksgiving in Week 12, in addition to the NFL Kickoff game.
“Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams, and cities the primetime stage,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend in the season’s first 15 weeks.”
With the expansion of the Thursday Night Football schedule, all 32 NFL teams will now play at least one primetime game in 2012. In addition, every club will play on one Thursday following a Sunday game.
Also in 2012, NFL Network will unveil a new Spanish-language NFL RedZone channel. NFL RedZone, produced by NFL Network, debuted in 2009 and whips around to every NFL game on Sunday afternoons, delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen. The channel keeps fans up-to-date in real time, switching from game to game with live look-ins, highlights and a chance to see the important plays.
Thursday Night Football averaged a record 6.2 million viewers in 2011 (not including over-the-air stations) – topping the average playoff viewership of other sports on cable. TNF has doubled average viewership from its inaugural season in 2006 (3.1 million viewers).
In his annual Super Bowl press conference yesterday, Goodell was asked about the ongoing dispute between the NFL Network and Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. Goodell responded:
We have eight games currently on the NFL Network schedule. We’re going to expand that to 13 games starting in the 2012 season. We’re going to be playing Thursday night games from Week 2 to Week 15. This will result in every team appearing in a Thursday football game and every team having a primetime appearance throughout the season. We think that’s great for the fans, we think it’s great for the teams, because everyone will get that primetime exposure, and we think it’s great for the network. The network continues to do an incredible job of promoting our sport. It’s giving fans an opportunity, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to get NFL football. They’ve shown their demand for that, and they’ve shown how much they want to see football. Every cable operator other than the two, have seen that it’s good for their customers. We’ll continue to work with them, we’ll continue to try and get an agreement, but the market has spoken. The NFL Network is here, and it’s going to continue to grow.
Translation for Packers fans in households with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision: Good chance you'll need to find a nearby sports bar that carries NFL Network.
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