The NFL is shopping an eight-game Thursday primetime TV package, with commissioner Roger Goodell having informal conversations with networks last week, according to the Sports Business Journal, which is reporting that a stake in the league’s NFL Network might be in play for the winning bidder. The talks are expected to gain momentum now that the league-imposed lockout is over. The NFL Network currently has rights to eight late-season Thursday NFL games; the new package will cover the early season. The SBJ says Turner and Comcast would be front-runners, especially since they have cut previous deals that included league-owned assets (Turner pacted with the NBA in 2007; Comcast has a similar deal with the NHL). Fox and ESPN also are expected to be interested in the package. …

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt wants to sell the team’s broadcast rights without Major League Baseball’s approval, but his plan to do so has ticked off Fox Sports, seemingly one of his only remaining friends in town. The Dodgers’ current TV rights-holder has floated McCourt and the team loans to help meet payroll, and has agreed to a 17-year contract extension that would give McCourt plenty of cash upfront that would help him keep control of the team, which is currently in bankruptcy protection and under the day-to-day control of the league. (Of course, commissioner Bud Selig has nixed that deal, saying too much of a $385 million loan that comes with the pact would go toward a divorce settlement with McCourt’s ex-wife Jamie.) But now Fox is peeved that McCourt has requested via the courts to hire Blackstone Group to sell the team’s media rights — even though Fox Sports’ Prime Ticket is under contract to air Dodgers games through the 2013 season, a deal that sees Fox have exclusive negotiating rights through November 2012 to extend. “Therefore, the current employment of Blackstone … is premature, and such employment should be denied,” Fox Sports attorneys said in papers filed Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It’s McCourt’s way of sidestepping further Selig roadblocks, but at what expense? …

The NBA, which locked out players after collective bargaining talks broke down July 1, sued the NBA Players Association in federal court today and filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against it as well. The league claims the union is threatening to use antitrust litigation to “extract more favorable terms and conditions of employment,” so commissioner David Stern and company decided to beat the lawsuit to the punch, asking the court to rule that said lockout doesn’t violate antitrust laws. A favorable ruling means the court wouldn’t have the jurisdiction to end the lockout — as a Minnesota district court judge temporarily did during the NFL lockout. The league’s NLRB complaint contends the players aren’t negotiating in good faith; the players filed a similar complaint in May.