And why not? From a revenue and viewership point of view, the league soars over entertainment (scripted and unscripted) content and news programming -- and gained modest single digital percentage increases the last few years.
Games average some 16.5 million Nielsen-measured viewers. What non-sports TV shows can really compare?
For years, it was thought the NFL could just add more games to its schedule -- for each team. But the players union has something to say about this.
Seems another approach is not to add more games per team, rather add more teams -- this according to NBCSN’s Mike Florio. Raising the number of teams to as many as 40 from the current level of 32, could make a big difference. Possibly St.Louis and London (yes, that London) might be new franchise teams.
In addition, the NFL could sell another package of games -- though perhaps not adding another night of the week, a la the last iteration of “Thursday Night Football,” something players hate. They could expand to 16 playoff teams, which would mean higher-priced TV commercial ad revenues.
And the money keeps rolling in.
Standard Media Index says the 2020 TV season pulled in $3.4 billion in national TV advertising revenue among all the NFL national TV networks partners -- leaving out the Super Bowl. (Total day national TV advertising revenue for the big event is now valued at around $400 million.)
And we haven’t even talked about what sports betting advertising looks to bring to the league in future years.
Consider that new or re-launched rival pro league efforts continue to make repeated attempts to move in on the NFL's still-growing business -- albeit in different time periods of the year.
Fox Sports is starting with the USFL next spring. The XFL looks to get going again in 2023 with a different approach to its quickly shelved start 2020 -- mostly due to the pandemic.
In part, both leagues looked to cater to under-served markets. So perhaps the NFL should take matters into its own hands. Detractors may call it running up the score.