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NBC, CBS will share expanded 'Thursday Night Football' package

NFL Network will simulcast the 10-game package and exclusively air eight more games.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL announced that it has reached a broadcast rights agreement with NBC and CBS for Thursday Night Football in 2016 and 2017. NFL Network will retain the exclusive rights to eight Thursday games. Both NBC and CBS will broadcast five Thursday Night Football games each, with a simulcast airing on NFL Network.

Thursday Night Football games over the first half of the season will air on CBS and NFL Network, while the second half of the season will be shown on NBC and NFL Network.

The rights will cost approximately $450 million, which is a significant increase from what CBS paid previously for the broadcast rights. CBS initially paid $275 million for the Thursday Night Football broadcast rights in 2014, and it paid $300 million for the 2015 season. The ratings justify the expense. In 2015, the eight Thursday night games that were simulcast on CBS and NFL Network were the highest-rated program on those evenings according to Variety, garnering anywhere from 14.8 million to over 21 million viewers.

The broadcast team for NBC's Thursday Night Football broadcasts has been established.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this decision is part of an effort to make Thursday Night Football "bigger and better."

"CBS has played an integral role over the last two seasons in helping build Thursdays as a night for NFL football, and we're excited to have them on board again," Goodell said. "At the same time, we're thrilled to add NBC to the Thursday Night Football mix, a trusted partner with a proven track record of success broadcasting NFL football in primetime, and look forward to expanding with a digital partner for what will be a unique tri-cast on broadcast, cable, and digital platforms."

These agreements only cover television broadcasts, and the NFL remains in discussion for digital streaming rights for Thursday Night Football.