Monday, November 2, 2009

Answer me this NFL

For many a year I have been an avid professional football fan, specifically a fan of the Minnesota Vikings (yes I'm aware that we have never won the super bowl so spare me please). Believe it or not this post has nothing to do with Brett Favre, in fact I will only say his name three more times throughout this post...Favre, Favre, Favre.

Something I have never understood about the NFL is how the TV scheduling for the Sunday afternoon games works or why it never changes. I could probably Google it , but then I would not have something to write/complain about so I'm going to skip that for now.

Specifically I do not understand the rationale behind the first and second groups of games and how they are televised. FOX and CBS each show games at noon and/or 3 PM (central time). Sometimes FOX will show a game at both times, while CBS will show a game at one or the other or vice versa. Sometimes  FOX will show a game at noon and not at 3 and CBS will show a game at 3 and not at noon or vice versa. What I am getting at, is that of the 4 slots for NFL games on Sunday afternoon, usually 3 of them are filled with games and sometimes just 2 of them are filled with games. The leftover 3 or 6 hours is filled with paid programming.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist)

Financially this makes no sense to me. I know it has something to do with local coverage and NFL licensing and all that legal mumbo jumbo. But from a money making standpoint one would think that the NFL as well as FOX/CBS would want to work on adjusting whatever legal ramifications there are in order to make more money. Just look at this article from Ad Age on how well Sunday night and football are doing in the ratings race right now.

Add in the fact that sporting events are some of the only "DVR proof" programs on TV and you have all the more reason to show as much NFL as possible (a great post on the shelf life of sports and ratings can be read here in Mark Cuban's blog , which helps reiterate my point...OKmaybe I'm reiterating his point but nevertheless and alwaysthemore).

Higher ratings = more money. The NFL has been like this for as long as I can remember...even back in the olden days when AFC games were on NBC and CBS was out of the loop.

Tell me NFL, why have you not made the necessary adjustments so that at 3:00 PM on Sundays I have the option to watch the Dolphins vs. Colts game as well as the Bears vs. Steelers game, rather than three hours of ShamWow infomercials?

(If there is a really simple answer to all of this that makes me sound stupid, at least make it sound complicated so that I don't feel dumb, thanks)

(One more thing...I know that if this was really a major problem I could order Sunday NFL ticket or find some way to watch whatever game I want online. But a lot of people rely on cable for whatever NFL games they watch and a lot of people will watch just about any NFL game that is on TV, so don't counter with any of that.)

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

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