More NFL Games Could Lead To More Viewers -- But Home Exercise Product Commercials

The big, powerful National Football League is thinking of running up the score. But not everyone is cheering them on.

NFL owners are considering adding another regular season game or two to their burgeoning schedules, and cutting back on pre-season games. It seems to make business sense: bigger viewership, more fees, higher sponsorship revenues, and, in theory, added TV advertising dollars.

The problem is that this is 2009 -- not 1999. In the midst of a recession and some some trying times for TV networks, adding more NFL advertising inventory will just glut up a market that is already soft.

Media executive say that last season -- right in the teeth of a dramatically slowing U.S. economy -- TV networks had a difficult time selling NFL advertising inventory, including some touch-and-go problems where NBC sold a premium Super Bowl spot in February to a direct-response TV advertiser.

But NFL owners aren't interested in that. Even if the sports TV advertising market isn't growing, there is always market share to be had. Perhaps they believe fourth quarter college football TV money will flow in their direction, or some late-season Major League Baseball money.

NFL owners are counting on consumers to lead the way. They sense that no matter how the economy performs, consumers will continue to watch TV -- perhaps even more so in a weakened economy in which many industry experts predict mass levels of "cocooning."

Higher viewership makes sense for the NFL. NFL owners know more than anyone that NFL ratings have been one of the most stable forms of TV programs in terms of ratings for years.  

But the big question: What advertisers will be there to support this added viewership?

Even after the recession is over -- which may not happen until after the next football season -- fundamental changes among key, long-time businesses, will occur. The automotive and financial industries, both key TV sponsors of NFL football over the years, will transform the ways they market their products.

All that will leave TV football networks -- CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, and even NFL Network -- with more viewers as well as more sales calls to the likes of

3 comments about "More NFL Games Could Lead To More Viewers -- But Home Exercise Product Commercials ".
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  1. Aaron B. from, March 24, 2009 at 5:47 p.m.

    Although the NFL will rarely if ever turn down an opportunity to make more money such as this, much of the anticipation of an extended schedule comes from an overwhelming majority of fans' complete and utter hatred of preseason games. But that aside, expanding the NFL season has more complicated tasks at hand, such as the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) with players, and the contracts pursuant of TV networks who already pay billions for broadcasting games.

    Not to mention scheduling. If they upped it just one game, to 17 games a season, you would have some teams with more home games than others.

    In the end, more games probably do mean more money. Especially if Goodell wants to have more internationally-hosted contests.

  2. Kyle Eckhart from R2C Group, March 24, 2009 at 7 p.m.

    I read: another step towards accountable advertising.

    At the same time that extra inventory (like another NFL regular season game) is providing new opportunities for DR advertisers, we also see more traditional advertisers coming into the DR space to take advantage of lower rates and opportunistic buying in a penny-pinching economy.

    In my opinion, these converging trends, along with the increase in cable viewership, are helping to find a cost balance in a media marketplace that has always polarized those who value eyeballs and those who value phone calls. It's another positive step towards real response as the new TV media currency.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 24, 2009 at 9:43 p.m.

    Has the consumer investment been forgotten? Does anyone remember why people are watching more TV? They do not have those extra buckaroos to spend which translates to less products purchased with less profits for the advertiser who is asked to spend more of that moola they are not getting from the consumer who does not have them. Outside of some exceptions, more inventory yields what? Something will be stretched beyond expectations so who will be tightening first and where is the tipping point?

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