25 years ago today: FOX Broadcasting Company wins the rights to the NFL’s NFC package

A look back at FOX’s foray into football

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FOX is football, and it has been for 25 years now. On Dec. 18, 1993, FOX Broadcasting Company won the rights to broadcast the NFL’s package of NFC games, marking the 7-year-old network’s first step into regular sports programming. Twenty-five years later, FOX continues to be a bold leader in live programming, thanks in no small part to its NFL broadcasts.

“FOX will be very proud and honored to broadcast the great American institution that is the NFL,” Rupert Murdoch, then Chairman and CEO of Fox Inc., said in his announcement in 1993. “We will bring it our unique, high-energy perspective in creating a new and better viewing experience… We regard this NFC franchise as the crown jewel of all sports programming in the world and will give it our complete commitment.”

The landmark four-year, $1.6 billion deal to broadcast NFC games gave FOX a degree of distinction it had not enjoyed until then. “We’re a network now,” Rupert told Sports Illustrated after the announcement. “Like no other sport will do, the NFL will make us into a real network.”

FOX’s long-standing commitment to delivering world-class NFL broadcasts to its audiences has grown significantly since then. FOX Sports has boasted the No. 1 NFL package for the past 24 seasons; and last January, it reached an agreement with the NFL to broadcast the next five seasons of Thursday Night Football, starting with the current 2018 season (which is already outpacing last season’s coverage). This combined with FOX Sports’ Sunday NFC package gave FOX 38 regular season NFL windows this fall, the most ever for a single network.

Looking to the future, FOX Broadcasting Company will be part of FOX, the new, publicly traded company that will comprise the FOX Broadcasting network and stations, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FOX Sports, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network after 21st Century Fox’s remaining businesses are combined with Disney. FOX will be centered on the power of live news and sports, including its leading NFL programming.

Here’s the original release from 1993 announcing FOX winning the rights to broadcast NFC games:

Congratulations to FOX Broadcasting Company for 25 years of NFL broadcasts!