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SBD/Issue 129/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Goodell Says Owners May Vote To Add Regular-Season Games
Published March 24, 2009
|Goodell Says Longer Season
Unlikely To Begin Before '11
TV TIMEOUT: NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol said he has had “only casual conversations” with the NFL about the proposal to add games, and has not made up his mind on whether he favors it. “It depends on a lot things, particularly where will those games be scheduled. … Will they be in August? Will they be in January? I mean those are wildly different times in the television economy, in terms of your ability to sell and to sell the product at a certain price. I mean, are they going to add two games in August or are they going to have them in January? We don’t even know that." Ebersol acknowledged that more regular-season games in January would be preferable than regular-season games in August, and that the NFL might want NBC and other networks to pay more for more regular-season games. Ebersol: “In my 42nd year of being in the television business, about two-thirds of them in sports, there is never a conversation you have with the NFL that doesn’t involve more.” SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said that if the NFL makes the change, it is possible it could move the whole season back, so not only the Super Bowl, but the NFC and AFC championships could be played in February. “You could have two great NFL weekends during sweeps month” (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson said of the possibility of the NFL adding more regular-season games, “It’s not as attractive to the networks as you might think. I would not be jumping through hoops to get this done.” Optimum Sports Managing Dir Tom McGovern said, “In this marketplace, no one is looking to add inventory. If you build it, (advertisers) don’t always come.” Former A-B VP/Global Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo: “We’ve all watched businesses break a little bit in the current economy, so you wonder about keeping what you have healthy. It may be a time when broadcasters have to examine whether it’s worth having the NFL as a great showcase for their other programming” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/23 issue).
Kraft Says Extending NFL's Calendar
Might Create 100 New Jobs
WOULD BE PART OF FUTURE NEGOTIATIONS: The Washington Post’s Maske said it is “almost a given that the owners will seek” an expansion of the regular season. Maske: “There needs to be a way even in this terrible economy to increase the revenues in the next set of television deals, and the one way to do that is to give television more regular-season games.” However, he noted owners would have to “come up with a deal with the players as part of the labor talks for how much additional compensation the players will get for those games” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Net, 3/23). Goodell said the league would “have to have an agreement with our television partners to be able to do it, otherwise those games would not be televised. So we would have to modify our agreements.” Asked if television revenues would increase, Goodell said, "The reality is, I think it is improving the quality of the content. What we have to do is sit down with our partners and go through a negotiation” (Mullen).
OTHER TOPICS BEING DISCUSSED: In Boston, Ron Borges notes Goodell “hinted more firmly than he has in the past that a rookie salary cap also is being seriously discussed this week” (BOSTON HERALD, 3/24). In addition, Goodell “mentioned possibly creating a developmental league.” Goodell: “I would like to explore that in the next negotiations” (AP, 3/23).
LAST RESORT? In L.A., Sam Farmer writes, “How bad off could the league be if the owners are holding their annual meetings this week in Dana Point at the posh St. Regis Monarch Beach?” (L.A. TIMES, 3/24). NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said that the league “received a corporate rate of about $350” nightly per room. Asked about his room rate, Goodell said, “I don’t know. I haven’t looked” (USA TODAY, 3/24). Goodell added, "We committed to this (four years) ago.” In L.A., T.J. Simers writes Goodell left the "impression the NFL could not cancel this stay." The league, "like so many other big corporations, has been laying poor people off, and while they might’ve gotten a group rate here to reduce costs on expenses, including a swanky poolside party Monday night, why moan and groan about the tough times while living it up?” (L.A. TIMES, 3/24). In Philadelphia, Paul Domowitch writes under the header, “Site Of Annual Meetings Suggests NFL Might Be In AIG’s League” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/24).
Rooney Couldn't Play Role In Labor
Talks While Ambassador To Ireland
FOREIGN AFFAIRS: SI.com’s Peter King noted in her address to NFL owners Sunday, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that she “thought Great Britain, Germany and Australia would be good candidates for NFL franchises.” Rice: “Find countries with a mass sports culture, and where they play either rugby, Australian Rules football or soccer.” Meanwhile, McNair asked Rice whether Russia “has become more of a rogue nation, and whether she thought Russia would join OPEC.” McCaskey asked about the “dangers of his daughter, 20, practicing her college-learned Arabic in Yemen” (SI.com, 3/23).