NBC Boss Toasts ‘Thursday Night Football’ Get: ‘Most Powerful Programming on TV’

“Football is profitable for us now, it will be profitable for us after the ‘Thursday Night’ deal,” Steve Burke says

NBC just jacked five NFL games from rival CBS, and President-CEO Steve Burke couldn’t be happier about that.

“Football is profitable for us now, it will be profitable for us after the ‘Thursday Night’ deal,” he told analysts on Comcast’s Wednesday morning investor call.

“The ability to have these 24 football games — which will be 24 of the highest-rated nights of the year — is very, very valuable for a marketer that wants to reach a broad audience,” he added. “In fact, getting more valuable all the time as the world continues to fragment.”

The Comcast EVP is right: Live events are all the rage for advertisers and broadcasters these days, and there are few options better to have than NFL football. NBC already had the highest-rated series on television in “Sunday Night Football” — if it can afford this, that’s a great thing.

And afford it they can, a very happy Burke assured shareholders.

“We’re delighted about it,” he concluded. “It’s really the best programming, most powerful programming on television — and we got it at a very fair rate.”

NBC has been the highest-rated broadcast channel in the key 18-49 demographic for a few years running. However, CBS, the longtime top dog in terms of total viewers, will take over that frontrunner slot this Sunday with the rights to air Super Bowl 50. The “Thursday Night Football” split assures that this rivalry will carry over for at least a few more years.

Technically, the “Thursday Night Football” rights were up for grabs after this fall’s regular season ended, but CBS was the incumbent, having held them for the past two years.

CBS, NBC and Fox were all finalists for either exclusive rights to be shared with the NFL Network, or for a split among a number of broadcasters. When the dust — and dollars — settled, Fox was left out in the cold.

Read all about NBCUniversal parent company Comcast’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 earnings here.