What a Season Full of NFL Saturdays Would Look Like
PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The National Football League hasn't scheduled a regular-season game on a Saturday afternoon in eight years. The last time it played a regular season game on a Saturday, the NFC-leading Atlanta Falcons pounded the 4-10 Detroit Lions in a 2012 Week 16 matchup that was the lowest-rated NFL game of the year for ESPN.
This year, there are no Saturday games on the schedule at all -- and that's a shame for everyone involved.
The Sports Broadcast Act of 1961 gave the NFL its antitrust exemption and set the groundwork for its television blackout rule, but it also prevented the NFL from televising games on Saturdays during college football's regular season. When that season ended, the NFL used to make the most of it by broadcasting games on Saturday afternoons and evenings and taking advantage of the encroaching holiday season.
Since the inception of the NFL Network and the league's fascination with Thursday Night Football, the Saturday game has been relegated to the preseason and the playoffs. There were only eight Thursday night games per season from 2006 through 2011, but the league expanded Thursday Night Football to a 13-game slate in last year. That didn't count the three other games being played on Thanksgiving this year to give the NFL 16 Thursday games overall in 2013.What Thursday Night Football offers the NFL that Saturday network broadcasts don't is a mainline of money it doesn't have to share with pesky partners. The NFL Network can't pull in the nearly $5.50 per month that research firm SNL Kagan says ESPN gets from satellite and cable customers. It can, however, fetch second-best $1.34 per month, up from less than $1 last year, after beefing up its slate of Thursday games. That alone should bring in more than $1.1 billion in revenue, or 56% more than the channel produced last year.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV