SBD/February 29, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL To Open Season On Wednesday Night To Avoid Obama's DNC Speech

Democratic official said neither DNC nor Obama campaign requested the change
The NFL yesterday announced that the '12 season-opening NFL Kickoff game has been moved from a Thursday to a Wednesday in order to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. The Giants will host the season opener Sept. 5 at 8:30pm ET. NBC will continue to televise the game. It will be the first NFL game placed on a Wednesday since '48 (NFL). A Democratic official stressed that “neither the convention nor the Obama campaign requested the change.” The official said that “programming decisions have not been made for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, so it’s uncertain how the NFL’s decision would impact convention programming.” In Charlotte, Jim Morrill notes if “tradition holds, Vice President Joe Biden will accept his nomination on Wednesday night” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/29). NBC Sports Network’s Russ Thaler said, “Apologies to Vice President Joe Biden, who will be speaking Wednesday night at the convention and in front of family and friends, I assume. Everyone else will be watching the NFL” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 2/28). ESPN's Chris Mortensen jokingly said, “Get your priorities straight! Football has to come first over that, doesn’t it?” (“NFL 32,” ESPN2, 2/28). The NFL moved the start of the '08 Redskins-Giants season opener to 7:00pm ET to avoid a conflict with John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. It has been the least-viewed of NBC's NFL Kickoff telecasts (THE DAILY).
NFL KICKOFF RATINGS, VIEWERSHIP TREND ON NBC
YEAR
GAME
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'11
Saints-Packers
16.0
27,169
'10
Vikings-Saints
16.5
27,485
'09
Titans-Steelers
12.8
20,909
'08
Redskins-Giants
8.6
13,531
'07
Saints-Colts
11.5
17,791
'06
Dolphins-Steelers
12.6
19,196
       

FINDING A FOE: In N.Y., Paul Schwartz notes given the NFL "likes, if possible, to create a matchup of the two most recent Super Bowl champions, it’s a good bet the Packers visit the Meadowlands for the Wednesday night opener.” The Packers are “scheduled to play a road game against the Giants.” Other “intriguing possibilities for Opening Night are the Steelers and Saints, with the Cowboys always an option for television purposes” (N.Y. POST, 2/29).
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