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18-game NFL season could mean a new TV partner, permanent date for Super Bowl

The National Football League's push for to extend the regular season to 18 games -- from its current schedule of 16 -- could have a dramatic effect not just on the players and fans, but also on the television industry. 

GOODELL Although an 18-game season is not a lock, it seems likely to happen, perhaps as early as 2012. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league intends to officially propose extending the season by two games in the near future. While the NFL Players Union will probably oppose it, owners will push hard for a longer season because of the revenue it could bring them.

Clearly, a longer season would give the NFL some juice to try to get the networks to pay more for rights. The NFL's current deals with CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox are set to expire in 2014. The league takes in about $3.1 billion annually for those deals, another $1 billion annually from DirecTV for the Sunday Ticket package and $400 million a year from its own NFL Network.

With a longer season, the league could even consider carving out yet another television package of games. Currently, the NFL Network carries eight games in the second half of the season on Thursday and Saturday nights. The NFL could add one game to that package and create another nine-game package for games in the first half of the season that it could sell to itself or to another cable or broadcast network.

As for whether an 18-game season would mean an earlier start or later finish: If recent history is any guide, the NFL wants to take over February. The Super Bowl always used to be played in mid- to late January, but over the last 10 years, the game has mostly taken place in February. Adding two regular-season games could push the Super Bowl into mid-February and give the NFL a chance to make the three-day Presidents' Day weekend a permanent home for its biggest event. No doubt there are plenty of football fans who overdo it on Super Bowl Sunday and wouldn't mind having Monday off.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Credit: Keith Srakocic/Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (5)

The NFL should increase to a 17-game regular season. But in doing so, it can also add a second bye week for all teams. Additionally, it should make the extra game for all teams a neutral site game against a foe from the opposing conference.


Presidents' Day Weekend? People get that Monday off?

18 game NFL Season seems like the logical choice. After all, we've been forced to endure the entirely too-long, bloated MLB Season for far too long.

I have felt for sometime that pro football games should be played in February, with the Super Bowl played the last weekend before March Madness takes over.

I don't know about other parts of the country, but I find it extremely difficult to be interested in football much before October 1 (except perhaps college games). Pre-season should start Labor Day weekend and the season last how many ever weeks it is until March. More games per season won't make me enjoy it more (or watch it more).

This is just another example of Unbridled GREED in professional sports! In addition to expanding to 18 games, the NFL is just salivating about getting more games in Europe in hopes of getting more money.

I'll stick with College football where there is a lot more enthusiasm, excitement and not so much "love of money", YET - but alas GREED is even moving in there with talk of Super Conferences in the future.


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