Fox CEO Rice says network didn't overpay for NFL Thursday Night Football

Fox Networks CEO Peter Rice. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The official price tag on Fox’s winning bid for broadcast rights to NFL Thursday Night Football remains unknown, but Fox Networks CEO Peter Rice is positive his network got what it paid for.

Reports vary regarding how much Fox paid. Ahead of the official announcement, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported that the network is spending about $550 million per season for 11 Thursday night games over the course of its five-year deal. That comes about to about $50 million per game. But according to The Wall Street Journal, the five-year deal is valued at about $3.3 billion, which breaks down to $660 million per season or $60 million per game.

Speaking at the Code Media conference, Rice assured the crowd that despite NFL ratings being down over the past two seasons, the product is still strong and well worth the price Fox paid for it.

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“You either have the most-watched content on television, or you don’t have it,” Rice said.

Rice also discussed Hulu, of which Fox still owns 30%, and said the service managed to outpace Netflix for U.S. subscriber growth during the past two quarters. During the third and fourth quarters of 2017, Netflix added about 2.85 million subscribers in the U.S. Hulu in January revealed that it has more than 17 million subscribers, 5 million more (or a 40% increase) than it had when it previously reported subscriber totals in 2016.

Rice said Hulu’s livestreaming TV service was growing the fastest for the company, and he predicted that Hulu will have 20 million subscribers by the time Disney’s $52.4 billion deal for Fox’s entertainment assets closes. The companies are anticipating the deal, which was announced in mid-December 2017, will take about 12 to 18 months to close.