Commentary

More Bad News For TV Stations: Possible NFL Turnover

It's bad enough TV stations are getting hammered in this still-suffering TV market. Now some may not be able to sell advertising time on one of their biggest TV properties: NFL football.

That's because several markets -- Minnesota, San Diego, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati Bengals -- may not sell out their home stadium tickets, all due to the suffering economy.

If that happens, the NFL might have to black out a number of TV games to inspire current and future home season ticket sales. The NFL has been so strong over the last few years -- in terms of TV viewers as well as stadium ticket sales -- it has been rare to see a blackout of local TV coverage.

One indication that times are tough comes from Minnesota. The Vikings still have a long way to go with season ticket sales, even with the newly signed big-name quarterback, Brett Favre.

The double whammy for TV stations comes from massive hits to their automotive and financial advertising, which also happen to be two of the biggest sports and NFL TV advertising categories.

While automotive has been cutting back, many domestic and import brands continue to buy TV sports, still hoping to target their core male consumers.

Now a bunch of TV stations won't even get a handful of valuable NFL home games to sell to those advertisers -- usually at very high advertising rates.

There isn't much of an alternative for TV stations right now.

Times are tough in so many other areas for TV stations, some might say all this goes with the territory of a weak economy. That perhaps it's better to get all bad news out of the way now, and look forward to reinventing their media businesses for 2010 and beyond.

If anything, the NFL example shows that even the strongest properties for local TV stations at times cannot be counted on, that new local advertising/marketing/programming alternatives are needed in the coming years.

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 Correction:

 Last Friday's TV Watch column, "The Gosselins, TV Advertisers, And The Reality of It All"  incorrectly reported the worth of the Gosselins' home. It is $1.3 million, not $10 million.

4 comments about "More Bad News For TV Stations: Possible NFL Turnover".
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  1. Aaron B. from AnimationInsider.net, August 31, 2009 at 4:26 p.m.

    Better reinvent soon then, what with the possible NFL lockout looming in 2011.

  2. Tim Rank from blueprint 314, August 31, 2009 at 4:49 p.m.

    I believe this has more to do with lackluster teams and the game experience than the economy. Granted both forces conspire to produce poor ticket sales. But the St. Louis economy and the Kansas City economy are not all that different, yet rabid Chiefs fans continue to spend money in support of their team (and their tailgating madness!) while Rams fans choose to not sit in a dull stadium and watch a listless team. Many here in the heartland are saving their dwindling dollars for -- as they are hoping -- a Sam Bradford-led team in 2010.

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, August 31, 2009 at 10:44 p.m.

    How did reinvention work out for buggy whip makers in the 1920s?

  4. Carl LaFong, September 1, 2009 at 2:02 p.m.

    Hey kids, ya think this year is bad, just wait'll next year when the Jets or Giants can't sell out their pricey new seats!

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