Thursday, December 9, 2010

NFL Committed To Cramming Home 18 Games

It doesn't matter if you hate the thought of an 18 game NFL season.

The league is going to shove it down your throat, whether you like it or not.

I am constantly amazed at how little actual support there is among fans for this league obsession.

Here, read this quick blurb headed with "NFL negotiator says 18-game season key to labor talks."

Now, skip down to the comments, and just get a feel for how many fans absolutely HATE this idea. This is not a skewed sample of opinion, either.

In all of my hours on the radio taking calls, both national and local, I have yet to hear any broad, coherent, or passionate support for 18 games.

The league will say, "but of course, who WOULDN'T want to turn two bad pre-season games into real ones?"

The NFL is assuming that demand for their product is infinite, and that the financial will of their customers to finance schedule expansion is a fait accompli.

I think if they get their way on 18 games, they may be in for a shock.

To my view, the average NFL fan is already more than satisfied with the level of consumption available for the NFL "product" as a whole.

Because even though schedule expansion is still the league's goal, they have already engaged in aggressive television expansion for years.

They pried open a Thursday "opening night" game before the first Sunday.
They have a full second half slate of Thursday games.
They have a late December run of Saturday games.
They added a third game on Thanksgiving day.
They even have a double-header MNF game during Week 1.

All of this, with the popular explosion of the NFL's own "Red Zone Channel" by way of cable systems, means that the average NFL fan is well sated with the product as it currently stands.

The demand for 18 games, is much weaker than the league thinks.


  1. Czabe, is Goodell NUTS???? An 18-game season AND expansion?? The talent is diluted enough as it is; with expansion, you're going to have de facto minor league teams masquerading as NFL teams. How about CONTRACTION to 24 or even 28 teams? It's FINE to eliminate two preseason games, but keep the players' safety IN MIND. With an 18-game schedule, each team is going to have to have two bye weeks rotated throughout the season. Or, have a league-wide bye week in Weeks 7 and 14.

  2. i tend to smell what czabe's cooking here, but i just wanted to chime in off-topic real CANNOT BE EXPRESSED ENOUGH what utter fucking bullshit it is that basic cable suscribers have had virtually free access to their own cute little redzone channel the last two seasons...what value does our sunday ticket carry anymore when you combine that with all of the national games czabe cites???...local affiliates should not even be allowed to show the end of other games...don't wanna shell out the cash?...FINE!'re stuck with three games on sunday afternoon...catch the highlights at 7:30 with the peacock nozzle crew!

  3. I disagree. If you are a season ticket holder, and I used to be, you HATE, HATE, HATE paying for 10 games to get to watch 8. You basically tip the team 2 games to be a season ticket holder. (And that is assuming no PSLs.) With season ticket sales down and TV revenues maximized the easiest way to grow revenue is at the gate. Don't think of it as chump change either. Assume 80,000 seats at $75 a pop and your talking 6,000,000 a game. Not counting parking, food, or drinks. My family held on to my tickets for years after I moved out of KC. The main reason they didn't renew was tickets were very easy to get. (KC has been awful the last couple of years.) But, spending $68 a ticket for two games that you couldn't give away was definately part of it.

    My brother has attended every regular season game this year, but didn't have to pony up an extra $150 for two games that the Chiefs didn't actually play to win in.

  4. If there were such demand for more football, alternative projects like the XFL would do better than they do. I think in a decade or so, we'll look back at about 2000 as the peak of the NFL's popularity. Not that it's going to fail or disappear, but it may never be as dominant again.

  5. Not to mention the greed of the players, owners, et. al. (ahem, agents) that is getting harder to stomach as 'normal people' have more trouble maintaining our own income over the last few years.
    Czabe, please do an article on the lockout, I'd love to hear your input (and sorry if I've missed any previous writing on it).

  6. Czabe - your argument lacks one thing - NUMBERS! Ratings over the past few years has sky-rocketed while regular prime time TV across the board has dipped. The money continues to pour in every year as demand increases. If what you are saying is true, then the average viewership per week would decrease but Sunday Night Football was at it's highest ever in 2009. The owners are looking to get back more of what they gave away in the past to the players union and the numbers are all in their favor - like it or not if they put more meaningful games on (and add an extra bye week for each team which is possible with 18 week schedules) we will continue to flock to the boob tube.

  7. They are taking away from the bread & butter which is Sunday afternoon football. That is what built this league, NOT night games.

    Aren't we seeing enough bad 2nd and 3rd string QBs this year? Where are these teams going to find the 4th string QB, espeically if they only have 2 preseason games? This idea gets dumber every time the league talks about it.

    A union that claims to be in place to benefit it's players should NEVER agree to more games!

  8. As a Ravens PSL owner/Season ticket holder, I'm fine with substituting two regular season games for two preseason games. At least I'd have the opportunity to sell the tickets versus just eating them when I can't go. Nobody cares about preseason and NO ONE is willing to pay face value for the tickets. I throw $430 in the toilet each preseason. Just flat out weak sauce.

  9. Why can't they just leave well enough alone? Money continues to ruin all that is good in sports. As unpopular as this seems to be just wait until he tries to play the Super Bowl in London. Goodell will need a team of bodyguards with him wherever he goes.

  10. Well done, Czabe. NO ONE is a bigger NFL fan than me, and I DON'T WANT two more games -- the league is acting like this is a done deal and I wish it would stop being reported as such. The players will probably cave tho, like Obama did to the Republicans. The media says it's about MONEY but it's all about GREED, plain and simple.

    I am on the PLAYERS' side, I don't want to see them hurt, and 16 games is perfectly symmetrical. It's bad enough the Stupor Bowl is in February -- now they want it @ Presidents Day, tomorrow it'll be St. Patrick's Day.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, as they say in Italy. (They say it in Italian.)

    - Stike

  11. Czabe,

    Agree that NFL is greedy and hypocritical, but I think it does make sense for them to expand. Reasons:
    1) Season ticket holders benefit as their investment in PSLs/Tix increases with 2 extra "real" games
    2) Vegas wins with two extra games. There has been numerous analyses linking gambling's influence to the NFL's rise to the top of America's sporting pyramid.
    3) The unofficial gambling population of Fantasy Football wins as well. Now our fantasy playoffs don't have to start at week 13. With a longer season, late round picks and waiver wire selections make the difference between winning and losing. A win for the growing majority of FFB players
    4) Economically, the NFL HAS to grow at some pace. If owners (i.e. investors) see that domestic expansion is risky, overseas expansion is long-term at best, TV is encroaching on season ticket holders, then they HAVE to do something to increase revenue above inflation (besides commemorative Farve memorabilia).
    5) Don't be surprised if this is a bargaining ploy with the NFLPA. Imagine if the NFL is able to negotiate other terms (percentage of revenue pie, pension/health care, etc) if they "accept" a 16-game schedule.

    Given that sports stink in the summer prior to NFL opening day and until March Madness/Masters (which probably coincides with your vacations), I say fill that with as much relevant action as possible.

    - Tommy Lap

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