SBD/Issue 128/Sports Media

NFL, NBC To Move Opener, Make Way For Republican Convention

NFL Likely To Move Up Start Time Of Season
Opener To Avoid Conflict With GOP Convention
The NFL and NBC "likely will move up the time of the league's September season opener so it won't conflict" with presidential candidate and U.S. Sen John McCain's (R-AZ) acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, according to Paul Gough of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Since the '02 season, the NFL has kicked off its season on the first Thursday night after Labor Day, but this year that date runs "into the final night of the convention." The NFL has yet to announce its '08 schedule, but it is "apparently not going to shy away from having its season opener on the scheduled day." As a result, the NFL and NBC have "agreed in principle" to start the game at 7:00pm ET instead of the traditional 8:30pm start time, meaning the game likely would end "before NBC's expected one hour of convention coverage for the night," scheduled to begin at 10:00pm. The move "comes with several risks, including loss of audience since the game would start so early on the west coast." It also could "impact any pregame special or entertainment that the NFL or NBC could schedule." In '00, the NFL agreed to ABC's request to start a preseason game at 7:00pm instead of 8:00pm so that the net could carry an hour of coverage from the Democratic National Convention (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 3/26). The game most likely will feature the Giants "hosting one of eight predetermined opponents" -- the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, 49ers, Seahawks, Ravens, Bengals or Panthers (, 3/25).

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