CBS Sports’ annual Media Day Luncheon saw an influx of NFL Network talent and executives this year, as the companies met with the press to break down expectations, promotion and talent for the coming season of Thursday Night Football. CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus noted that he was pleased with the pairing, comparing it to the company’s relationship with Turner Sports for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. NFL Media EVP Brian Rolapp noted that the resources from the partnership will have a visual impact in the new season and lift up the channel’s brand. Variety reports that CBS is looking for over $500,000 for a 30-second spot for TNF this year, with SBJ writing that the inventory was 80% sold. Lowe’s and Verizon will sponsor the first half-hour and second-half hour of the Thursday pre-game show, while Lexus will sponsor halftime and Mazda takes on the post-game show, according to the reports.
Meanwhile, the two companies firmed up pregame and postgame talent roster for the TNF brand on NFL Network and CBS. Joining host James Brown and analysts Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher will be an additional set featuring host Rich Eisen with analysts Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk and Steve Mariucci. Every Thursday at 6p on NFL Network, Eisen will kick off the NFL week with Irvin, Faulk and Mariucci live from outside the stadium on NFL Total Access Kickoff. At 7:30p, the action shifts with Brown, Sanders and Cowher anchoring NFL Thursday Night Kickoff from inside the stadium. The show will air on CBS and be simulcast on NFL Network during Weeks 2-8 and air exclusively on NFL Network during Weeks 9-12 and 14-16. During halftime, Brown, Sanders and Cowher host the Lexus Halftime Show on CBS and NFL Network.