DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 03: NFL Network sportscaster Rich Eisen attends a press conference where Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions was awarded Pepsi's 2010 NFL Rookie of the Year Award at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3 2011 in Dallas Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The new CBA proposal calls for many changes in the NFL moving forward. With a tip of the helmet to MidWayMonster54, a look at that list can be found here. One in particular caught my eye. It may seem minor at first glance, but I think the implications may go a bit deeper than that. Always one for a good conspiracy, I found a tad bit more evidence in this new CBA to back something I've suspected all along. The NFL is trying to become a monopoly. In every sense of the word. Join me after the jump for a look at my crack pot idea.
Here's the proposal that caught my eye. The NFL wants 16 Thursday night games to air on the NFL network. A link to that can be found here. So what, you say. Big deal. So the NFL gets some extra games on it's own network. What can that possibly imply? As I said, I love a good conspiracy theory so bear with me (no pun intended).
When the NFL negotiates with the major networks for broadcasting rights they are essentially playing the only card that keeps the NFL from being a complete monopoly. The networks get to bid for the rights to those games. Once their bid is accepted they can then negotiate with corporate America for the opportunity to advertise during those games. With the popularity of the NFL growing right through the proverbial ceiling of the American economy those ads bring the networks a chance to turn a real profit. In addition, the right to broadcast those games provides each network with the opportunity to promote it's own product. It can advertise it's own shows and hopefully generate even more commercial revenue from them. Win/win right? But what if the NFL didn't have to negotiate with anyone?
Where does the revenue come from when the NFL Network broadcasts it's own games? From the advertisers, right? Who gets that revenue? The NFL of course. By broadcasting their own games the NFL essentially cuts out the middleman and is now free to negotiate directly with the corporations seeking advertising time. It can also pimp its own product at no cost (other than air time) to itself. All the profit from each and every broadcast with all the promotion for free. Pretty sweet deal. But wait, there's more.
Right now most cable and several satellite providers don't offer the NFL network. Or at least don't offer it as a part of their basic packaging. By now hosting one game a week, each of those conglomerates are now going to have to give serious consideration to working out a deal with NFL network that won't financially hurt them or everyone might switch to DirecTv. So now the NFL has even more leverage in selling its own product. It makes itself more powerful. But, so what? I mean so what if the NFL gains a little more power, it just means a fine sport grows and develops. Okay. I'm with that. But what if this is just the beginning?
So, for now it's one game a week. Big deal. But what if the NFL network decides it's going to broadcast every game? Now the major networks have to negotiate with the NFL for advertising of their own shows. Now the NFL can generate all the profit possible with all of the hype to keep selling it. Now, if you have cornered your own market and have complete control over your own promotion and negotiations with potential advertisers what's to keep you from, say, raising ticket prices, or merchandise costs? If people stop attending, black out the games and raise advertising costs. Maybe viewing a live game becomes a pastime for the wealthy. Just look at the huge push for luxury boxes in stadiums today. Why was our own Soldier Field remodeled? They lost seating space. But they gained luxury box spaces. Will people quit watching the most popular sport in America? You'd have to be naive to think they would. So then the rich get richer and.....? From the article...
The figure apparently is acceptable to the players because projections say NFL revenue should double to $18 billion a year by 2016.
Double their revenue in 5/6 years. How? Riddle me that one Batman. I know this is pretty farfetched and I'm sure
there are huge holes in my line of thinking but the thought has been sitting in my mind since I first heard of the
creation of the NFL Network. And now they announce they want a game a week. Is this the beginning of something
larger? Or do I just have way too much time on my hands during this lockout? Your thoughts?