The NFL Is Feeling The Pressure From Other Sports
By Brett Spielberg
Thursday nights might be for football on the NFL Network, but will the surging NBA ratings negatively affect broadcast revenue?
Players are united in their disdain for Thursday night games. Owners on the other hand, are pleased with the extra revenue it pulls in. Remember, the players fought for more revenue in the latest CBA. Where do you think the extra cash is coming from?
Monetizing broadcasts has been the key source of funds for the NFL. More games on Thursday or Sunday or Monday can add more money, but only if the ratings are there. Teams and players can attest to both having more money than ever, but the NBA might cut into the mammoth that is football ratings.
Last week, the World Series topped the NFL, something that wouldn't be too far fetched looking back a decade, but slightly worrisome for Goodell's team of execs. It would make sense for the MLB championship to cut into NFL regular season ratings — or completely steal the NFL's thunder until after the playoffs ended — but it hasn't been that way lately. Baseball is on a tragic decline, and football is surging exponentially.
But the NBA is the biggest competition for the NFL, other than the expanding lineup of quality NCAA games. With a younger, more dynamic audience than baseball or hockey, baseketball has become the number-two sport in the nation. With 82 games spread from late October into the spring, the NBA will be competing with the NFL through the Super Bowl and even into the draft.
While sports media is obsessed with football, it's only a matter of time, and a few ratings points here or there, before the NBA really puts the heat on the NFL when it comes to getting people to tune in. Throw in a climax to the concussion controversy or some more bad press when it comes to deragatory team nicknames, and who knows, basketball might steal some big numbers away from football.
And don't forget, the Premier League and MLS are expanding and will be shown more prominantly across American markets.
One thing is for certain: the NFL is without a doubt the biggest sport in the country. But it was only a few decades ago that the MLB was able to claim the same high ground. Who knows what sport might be on deck next.