SBJ Football: Black Friday game will encroach on high school grounds


I am thankful for good games today. There are five winning teams and the Lions in action, who are officially in bloom.

The business case for adding a game on Black Friday is pretty clear, but the start of next year will be a turning point when it comes to the league’s relationship with the grassroots: it will immediately face the league’s main scheduling conflict with high school football. Will be .

There have been problems in the league before. The NFL staggered Friday games due to special circumstances, and Thanksgiving Day games have been staggered over the decades. But this is different. According to research from and SBJ, Black Friday games are expected to become a regular part of the NFL schedule on the day when – at least for now – 26 states host playoffs or high school championships, including the 12 largest Are . (Coincidentally, three NFL stadiums will host prep action tomorrow: Ford Field, Lucas Oil Stadium, and MetLife Stadium.)

I asked Commissioner Roger Goodell if the NFL had considered this before scheduling Black Friday games with Prime Video. Goodell said, “My wife is from Chicago, and I spend every Thanksgiving with her family all day watching high school football, and we have three games a day.” “So I think there is a huge interest in football at all levels, and we support that,” noting that the league will take this interest into account as it experiments with different ways to “celebrate football”. Is.

Since 1961, federal law has effectively prohibited the NFL from broadcasting games after 6 p.m. on Fridays and on Saturdays through mid-December. That’s because Congress, while it agreed to an antitrust exemption that allowed NFL teams to cooperate in the sale of broadcast rights, was concerned about the league’s impact on NCAA football attendance and demanded a carve-out. Then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle considered this an acceptable trade-off for antitrust protection, and it has remained in effect ever since.

That law wouldn’t apply here anyway – it doesn’t cover streaming, and the NFL wants to play games at 3:00 ET before the window opens. But the spirit of the law (protecting high school and college attendance and fantasy football) has always been a compelling argument for the NFL, which sees the long-term decline in participation in grassroots football as a key strategic challenge. That may be a minor concern compared to the revenue that could be generated by the NFL with a new TV window at a time perfectly suited to Amazon’s interest in cross-selling Prime Video viewers on online commerce.

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Sources familiar with the NFL plan expect the league to take a break from playing in Mexico City for the next two years as the Estadio Azteca undergoes renovations ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. But those sources also predicted there would be no net loss of international games, citing hopes of adding a second game in Germany next season.

In an interview, NFL Executive VP Peter O’Reilly was non-committal about details, saying the league remains committed to Mexico in the long run and details are still being worked out for Germany. He asked local operators about the Mexico City location and said of Germany: “If there is an opportunity to do something else, we will consider it. But it’s something that really needs to be discussed with the DFL. There is work to be done, that is clearly the program and the main partners with the stadiums.”

There is no reason to expect new regular season games in new countries in the coming years. O’Reilly said extensive efforts are being made in many countries to build a fan base through digital and social content throughout the year. So far insiders think the most potential could be unlocked with the games by giving the NFL a bigger role in Germany, where statistics suggest fan interest is more likely to grow than in the UK. There’s a lot more space the NFL operates from mid-to-center. 2000s.

Another factor driving NFL games in Europe: more European games means more football in the promising 9:30 ET Sunday window. “It’s kind of a side benefit, but the main mission is to bring more fans to this product,” said O’Reilly.

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Fan token platform Socios, sponsor of 14 NFL teams, has finally gone live with two teams on its app, a small step toward its vision of making club decisions through a fan vote.

In October, the Falcons asked fans to log into the Socios app and vote for one of four different paint jobs in the end zone for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Last Sunday, the Falcons used the winning design, dubbed “Together We Rise.” In LA, the Rams are accepting votes to decide which of two end zone paint jobs they will use against the Seahawks at SoFi Stadium on December 4.

Why End Zone Paint Job? Socio is on the right track – it aims to give fans a sense of meaningful involvement in team decisions, without misleading them into thinking Socio’s choices will pay off more than they can (in 2021, Arsenal sued The Supporters’ Trust of the Premier League that Socios ‘don’t vote on the things that matter’).

“I want to be able to see it as I vote on something that affects my team,” said Mac Douglas, Socio chief of US operations. As much as I’d love to make personnel decisions for the Chicago Bears, I’ll never be able to. But if I could see something I had a say in, even if it’s just an end zone design, it’s something I’ll give importance to.

In Europe, fans use crypto to buy Socios fantokens, including voting rights. But fan tokens are prohibited by NFL policy, so fans simply log into the Socios app and cast their vote. This is part of Socios’ long-term plans to educate and build a user base in hopes of eventually selling the token. “Until the NFL allows fan tokens, we want to help fans embrace this behavior and instill common sense, polling, and the habit of voting and making decisions in the app,” said Jen, Rams Chief Commercial Officer. working.” Prince.

Crew members from the grounds (left) of a Mercedes-Benz stadium help a fan paint the end zone with the fan’s winning design ahead of the Falcons-Bears game on Nov. 1.

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  • One of the companies featured in SBJ for Power Players: Sports Technology this week is StatusPro, the company behind the NFL Pro Era VR game. The NFL’s Troy Vincent, Moon Javed of the 49ers and Russell Siebetti of the Giants are also among those with NFL ties highlighted as part of the feature.
  • In this week’s SBJ Media newsletter, my colleague Austin Karp notes that the NFL could end up with a record number of games in the 100 most-watched shows by 2022.
  • With the NFL pressuring Amazon about how it would grow the next generation of fans with its Thursday night deal, CAA made Amazon stick to the fact that Dude Perfect is a youth-oriented, family-oriented, and huge football fan base. Is. Soon after, Amazon worked with friends on a simulated alternate broadcast of a Cowboys game to show a proof of concept to the eyes of the NFL. My colleague Eric Bachrach digs deep into Dude Perfect, including how the “TNF” simulcast came about and how Dude Perfect evolved as a company.
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