Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Football Equals Primetime Broadcast Ratings

This year, CBS begins to air Thursday Night Football to all its broadcast markets.  Certainly seeing the success that NBC has had with its Sunday Night Football games, CBS wants a similar outcome.  For both broadcasters, it attracts a large Nielsen rated audience in primetime as well as serves as a promotional vehicle to its other primetime shows.  It has previously worked for NBC in past years to raise its ratings and should do the same for CBS.

But this is not a new phenomenon.  For years, ABC was the proud owner of Monday Night Football across its broadcast footprint.  It was the home for Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, "Dandy Don" Meredith and more recently John Madden.  But a few years ago, ABC made the decision to move its football franchise off broadcast and onto its sister cable network, ESPN.  And while it surely helped ESPN ratings and assured higher license fees, I'm not sure if their ABC parent wouldn't mind now having their Monday night franchise back. 

Now as a football fan, I worry that too many nights of football will kill the golden goose.  It's one thing to commit to a Sunday afternoon of football, but the more hours and more days, the harder it is to stay tuned in.  Sometimes too much of a good thing is simply too much.  Yes Thursday Night football was first on the NFL Network, but with its move to a broadcast network, it will surely ask for bigger rivalry games to attract bigger audiences.  Thursday Night, Sunday Night, and Monday Night might just be too many.  But as we have come to learn, its never about the fan, only about the revenue.

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