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NFL Draft Faces Scheduling Conflict In '14; Could Be Moved To May
Published May 21, 2013
TAKING OVER THE NEWS CYCLE: CBS Sports Network's Jim Rome said the NFL is trying to become a “12-month business" by moving the Draft to May. Rome: "It’s going to be all NFL, all the time. If they push that Draft back and they kind of mess around with the Combine a little, they’ll get what they’ve always wanted. It’ll be all NFL, 24/7, all year long.” CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman said, "They’re feeding the NFL Network." He said of the fan reaction to year-long NFL coverage, “It’s almost like more candy to them because the fans will eat it up.” CBS Sports Network's Ephraim Salaam: “It’s all about monetizing those dead months in the offseason. Pushing things around and moving the schedule, you create viewership, you create more opportunities for sponsors to come in" ("Rome," CBSSN, 5/20). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted the NFL "loves to continue to be the biggest show in town even when it's not playing," and moving the Draft into May "gets it into that Nielsen sweeps period." Florio said this allows ESPN and NFL Network to "charge higher rates and set higher rates going forward because they're going to have bigger audiences." Florio: "This is all about the NFL continuing to dominate the American sporting landscape, even when the NFL isn't in season" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 5/20).
SPICE IT UP A BIT: ESPN.com’s John Clayton noted one element that is “open for discussion” at the NFL owners meeting in Boston today is “a plan to spruce up the Pro Bowl.” On the table is “a plan for the top vote-getters in each conference to serve as team captains to select the squads.” Instead of having the AFC going against the NFC, the team captains “would pick from the list of 88 Pro Bowlers.” Also on the table are “incentives to reward squads for scores by the half or the quarter,” and two-minute warnings “could be added in the first and third quarters.” The league is “open to any suggestion, but such major changes would need support to be implemented.” If the NFL “changes the Pro Bowl, players have to brace for the consequences.” If the moves “fail, there probably won't be a Pro Bowl by 2016 or '17.” Clayton noted TV ratings “aren't the problem,” rather it is the “quality of the game.” Still, if the ratings “trend downward, the game could be canceled” (ESPN.com, 5/20).