The National Football League has announced that they will continue to expand their television schedule during the 2014 NFL season, alongside the league’s traditional full slate of Sunday action as well as the weekly Monday night game. The NFL will also have eight games on Thursday nights throughout the season, with additional talk of the league expanding their schedule to include some games on Saturdays in the upcoming seasons.
This announcement has been met with mixed reviews from the media and general public. While some fans are happy to have as many football games on throughout the week as possible, other fans are a little less happy with expansion. Most of the less-than-happy fans are the NFL traditionalists who like that almost all the league’s games are on Sunday. This gives the average football fanatic the ability to watch every moment of NFL action each week while only having to dedicate one day of viewing to the NFL, thus giving hardcore fans the ability to follow everything that goes on throughout the league without having to ignore their children and family responsibilities. As a whole, this easy accessibility to complete viewing is one of the NFL’s strengths, and the company risks losing its grip on that if the league keeps expanding its television schedule to include more days of the week.
The NFL’s television expansion hasn’t only captured the attention of its fans, but also owners of franchises in other professional sports. One of the more vocal owners in sports, Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, is the first owner to speak up against the NFL’s expanded television schedule, and his comments are quite scathing.
Cuban claimed the NFL is “ten years away from an implosion.” The always-vocal Cuban then went on to to say “Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy; it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule number one of business.”
Wow, five “always” in the same sentence. Clearly, Cuban is passionate about this issue. He continued on to say “They’re trying to take over every night of TV. Initially, it’ll be, ‘Yeah, they’re the biggest-rating thing that there is.’ OK, Thursday, that’s great, regardless of whether it impacts [the NBA] during that period when we cross over. Then, if they get Saturday, they’re impacting colleges. Now it’s on four days a week.” Cuban ended his quote by claiming that “It’s all football. At some point, the people get sick of it.”
To me, these seem like the quotes of a man who is worried about his own product. Cuban says he doesn’t care if the new NFL television package impacts the NBA, but I don’t think that’s true. Of course he cares—he doesn’t want the NFL to take over every night in sports because he knows that they just can’t compete. And that should be a very legitimate fear for other professional sports. The NFL is so popular in the United States that if it expanded to every night of the week, other sports could see a drastic hit in their television rating, because, unfortunately for Mark Cuban, a lot of people really do want to see all football, all the time.