*smiles while thinking about sports with no commercials in a complete and utter dreamland*
Those wants sound fine and dandy, but it isn't realistic. Not entirely at least. We aren't talking about shortening visits to the pitcher's mound, which the MLB CAN set a timer on and CAN enforce rules on (even though I think baseball's pace of play is fine! Different time and place, I digress..), we are talking about one of the largest ways the NFL, or any sport for that matter, makes money, TV contracts and advertisements. Maybe if they cut the amount of breaks, but make them longer, which is something Goodell mentioned in his radio interview, the money generated from commercials won't decrease, but cutting the amount of times Fox can promote the new 24 or CBS can promote 60 Minutes during a game, I just don't think is going to sit well. Not when they are paying this huge amount just for the right to air a game.
There is a reason why athletes make so much money and college campuses always have construction going on with athletic facilities, sports bring in the big bucks people. Now you can be on the "it's just a game, it's crazy that sports are one of the largest industries in the US" side of it, or you can be on the "I love sports and there is nothing wrong with the amount of money being spent or paid out" side of it, either way you can recognize that it is big business. Where does the money come from to make it a big business? Well you have your fans and the "butts in seats" aspect of it, but the largest portion is from advertising/naming rights and TV contracts. If you doubt how much money is coming to the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA (SEC specifically) just Google whichever one and TV contract money. It's incredible.
If we could put this in a "follow the leader" turn of events it would look something like this:
1. People love sports and want to watch, from their home.
2. TV contracts are signed (LARGE ones) so that networks such as Fox with MLB rights, ESPN with SEC rights, and NFL rights, split across the board, can all be broadcast for the people that want to see them from their homes.
3. Networks pay this large amount because they make a lot of money by airing the events. This revenue either comes from companies paying for commercials or increased ratings from promoting their shows and network with in-game promotions.
4. The higher the network's ratings, or the more a product being advertised sells, the more companies are willing to pay for their ads to be on the networks and the more the networks are willing to pay sport organizations in order to gain the rights to broadcast the games.
5. The more the contracts are worth, the more money the NFL makes.
So, it starts with fans wanting to watch the game and ends with the NFL making money... To tie it full circle shouldn't the NFL, with all their money, be trying to make the fans happy and encourage them to continue watching the NFL..? Well, yes. Which is what Goodell is trying to do with this new proposal of less commercial and advertising breaks during football games. Sounds great! Oh, but if networks can't advertise their shows as much and not as many companies can buy commercial slots, are the TV networks going to spend as much money on contracts to air the NFL? The NFL is putting this in place to make fans happy, keep them watching, ultimately increasing revenue. When the largest portion of your revenue is coming from TV contracts though are you really going to risk losing that money in hopes of increasing viewers and fans? - Maybe I'm out of line and TV networks and the NFL make more money from strictly viewers and fans than I think.. but I'm pretty confident that the potential decrease in revenue from TV contracts is significantly larger than the potential increase in revenue from more viewers and happier fans.
Here's an idea Goodell, try to make fans happy by removing this "No Fun League" persona that the NFL seems to have taken on. (Head here to read my post, Dear NFL, Stop Being the No Fun League!) The fact that there is a video being created on what is and is not okay in terms of celebrating during games is beyond infuriating to me. I know that the NFL has said fans biggest complaints are the number of breaks and distractions from the game, but there are A LOT of people who wish personality and celebration could be shown more without players being penalized for it.. Why not focus on bringing more fun to the game than focusing on something that could really affect your main revenue stream? - All in all, I think less breaks from the game is a good thing, but from the financial point of view the amount of opportunities to advertise and promote needs to remain close to the same as now. This is one of the less frustrating things Goodell has done or said, but his interview today seemed so casual and like cutting the number of commercial breaks and in-game ads is a done deal with no ramifications. I don't think it's that simple. I'm going to keep my eye on this and be on the lookout for upset TV networks over the next year. In the end, the NFL will most likely pick money over fan happiness, so I won't be surprised if this plan doesn't last long or if there are adjustments to his original proposal.
What do you think? Will the NFL stick with this and actually decrease the number of breaks during a game? I'd love to hear your thoughts below!