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NFL Denies Speculation About ‘Thursday Night Football’ Ending Amid Ratings Slump

The NFL is looking to throw cold water on speculation that the “Thursday Night Football” TV franchise could end or be significantly pared down after the 2017-18 season.

The league on Monday issued a statement denying any such plans, following a report Sunday on NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk website.

“We are fully committed to ‘Thursday Night Football’ and any reports to the contrary are unfounded,” the NFL said in a statement.

The speculation about “Thursday Night Football” have a short run on broadcast TV comes as the NFL is grappling with significant ratings declines for its primetime showcases on NBC, ESPN and for the “Thursday Night Football” games shared as of this season by CBS and NBC. The Thursday games air simultaneous on the NFL Network and on Twitter.

The league’s NFL Network cabler relies on the Thursday as the leverage to demand carriage by MVPDs. But there’s much been talk this season about whether TV is over-saturated with pro football games. There’s also been a great deal of armchair-punditry about the quality of the Thursday match-ups this season.

CBS had the broadcast rights to “Thursday Night Football” for its first two seasons. The league split the package of 10 games between CBS and NBC in a two-year deal for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Twitter is also a new entrant this season as the league seeks to expand its reach in the digital realm.

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