‘Thursday Night Football’ rights in 2016 could be split among as many as 3 TV networks

The NFL is shopping the rights to Thursday Night Football and could split them up between two, or even three, television networks in 2016, according to John Ourand of SportsBusinessDaily.

What is known for sure is that at least eight of the Thursday games have to be televised exclusively on NFL Network. As long as eight regular season games are televised exclusively on NFL Network, it is able to keep its affiliate rate for distributors above $1 and avoid a significant drop-off.

But with the possibility of 17 Thursday Night Football games in 2016, that leaves nine games to be purchased by television networks and a looming bidding war between CBS, NBC and Fox.

According to Ourand, the NFL is considering splitting its remaining nine television broadcasts up into three-game deals each for CBS, NBC and Fox. Ourand said cable networks like ESPN and Turner Sports have bowed out due to the smaller packages and one-year deals that the NFL is pursuing, but according to Ronald Grover of TheStreet, that hasn’t stopped Fox from aggressively pursuing the rights and attempting to outbid CBS for the rights.

When the Panthers beat the Seahawks in the regular season, Stewart rushed for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries. The team rushed for 135 yards as a whole.

In Carolina’s last game, Mike Tolbert led the way with 59 yards rushing, while Cameron Artis-Payne was the top rusher with 49 yards the week before. Quarterback Cam Newton is second on the team in rushing yardage with 636 yards.

Fozzy Whittaker is dealing with an ankle injury and his status for the game is unclear.

Carolina’s rushing attack has been one of the best in the league, though that does have a lot to do with Newton’s ability to get around the outside and surprise defenses. The Panthers rank second in the league in rushing yards this season, with 142.6 yards per game on the ground.