Netflix, Google Play Could Land NFL Games as Part of New Thursday Night Package Bid

While television is currently ruling the medium of storytelling, network cable isn’t the only player in the game as over the past few years Netflix has made it’s presence known, breaking through this year with it’s original programming that garnered over 12 Emmy nominations.

But even though Netflix is pioneering the online streaming game, which is in the early stages of truly threatening cable television, the Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb that could change the game in more than one way for online streaming services. Throwing away the now refuted report that the NFL is looking to beef up its NFL schedule and double-up on Thursday night games, WSJ buried the real story which is Netflix and Google have been part of the discussions about acquiring partial NFL rights.

Per today’s issue of The Wall Street Journal:

League officials have also considered selling the Thursday night package to a nontraditional media partner, including online players like Netflix Inc. or Google Play.

It’s a complicated matter though as moving NFL games on Thursday to a new network would mean that the NFL would be taking games away from its league-branded flagship network. Despite the fact that the rumor of multiple Thursday night games has been disputed by the NFL, the possibility of moving Thursday night games away from NFL Network is still very real. Thursday Night Football isn’t a must-see event like ESPN Monday Night Football or more so NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Not all of the games could be moved, but the NFL could make some serious coin by auctioning off a partial slate of games to the online streaming world of Netflix and Google Play. The top buyers for Thursday night packages would be network cable like CBS or FOX who might be able to utilize their extra sports networks to boost á la carte sales like NFL Network did. According to a report, NFL Network boosted sales by 17 percent from 2012 to 2013 largely based on the allure of Thursday night games.

That’s an increase that Netflix would jump at as they could likely go nuts on subscription numbers with a cornerstone partner like the NFL. So far Netflix is being branded by viewers as the next HBO but having NFL games as part of their menu would help establish Netflix as the true cable TV killer it’s being developed as.