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NFL denies talk of Thursday Night Football expansion

American football league the NFL has denied a report that it is considering selling a US broadcast rights package for an additional set of Thursday evening games.

The league’s cable television channel, NFL Network, currently broadcasts 13 Thursday night games per season, but the Wall Street Journal said that the NFL is keen to add to this to build on what is one of the US television market’s most competitive evenings.

The newspaper, citing a person familiar with the league’s strategy, said that the NFL believes that adding a second game to create double-headers on some Thursdays could create more national interest.

The Journal said the process is still in the preliminary phase. Executives are said to have discussed the matter with media outlets but the league is not marketing a specific package and no formal offers have been received.

Responding to the report, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Twitter: “Wondering where the idea of Thursday night doubleheaders came from? So are we. We have not considered this.”

The Journal added that additional games would be taken from the Sunday afternoon schedule, currently shown on the CBS and Fox networks, and would not affect deals the league has with the NBC network and sports broadcaster ESPN.

The league’s most recent set of broadcast agreements included the ability to remove games from the Sunday afternoon schedule and use them to create another package of games.