Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday 12-28

Don't believe for a second that the reason the NFL is allowing CBS and NBC to show tomorrow night's New England Patriots--New York Giants game is because they don't want fans to miss out on a potential historic moment. This decision is based on nothing more than money.

I can guarantee that some time this week the head of CBS Sports called up Commissioner Roger Goodell and reminded him that the network pays a large chunk of the one-billion dollars the league gets in television rights revenues. The CBS exec likely pointed out that they would have broadcast rights to the game--since the Patriots will be the road team on Saturday--and that there was a very good chance they could have seen huge ratings for a show that would have spilled over into the important prime time hours. And that CBS executive most certainly reminded the Commish that his network may not be so keen on paying a billion dollars to air the NFL in the future. So Goodell capitulated and gave CBS permission to simulcast the game.

It probably didn't take ten minutes for the suits at NBC to find out that CBS was going to show the big game--so their head man was on the phone to Goodell as well. The NBC chief likely reminded Roger that his network also pays a fair chunk of that one-billion dollar rights deal--and that they have exclusive rights to prime-time Sunday night games. NBC also has the right to reschedule start times to get the matchup they think will bring the biggest audience--and they almost certainly would have put Pats-G-men on during the coveted prime time hours. And the NBC officials most certainly told Commissioner Goodell they would not be so keen on paying up to a billion dollars to air the NFL in the future.

So the Commish would find himself in the difficult position of granting another network rights to simulcast a game already on two channels. I can flat out guarantee that none of the men involved in these discussions at any time mentioned the word "fans". "Viewers" and "ratings" were likely tossed around--but "I'm concerned about the fans missing this historic moment" didn't roll off anyone's tongue.

By the way, if this is so historically significant--why isn't CNN or Fox News showing the game as "BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!"

Now, if the NFL really cared about the fans--they would take the clueless Bryant Gumbel off the broadcast and get a play-by-play man who actually knows the players names and which team has the ball.

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