CHANGES IN RULES TO HELP GAME BECOME MORE FAN-FRIENDLY
By Douglas Pucci
The National Football League (NFL) has recently implemented two new rule changes for the upcoming season to better accommodate the viewing experience for its weekly games.
Last week, it was announced the kickoff time for each late afternoon game as part of the day’s doubleheader either on FOX or CBS will switch from 4:15 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. Eastern. The newly-installed later time was designed to lessen the chances for viewers to miss the end of the 1 p.m. game telecast because their affiliate is required to switch to the start of their team’s game in the late afternoon. In addition, fans not in the markets of the late doubleheader opponents will now be more likely to not miss the beginning of the late doubleheader game.
Via research of NFL games from 2009 thru 2011, part of the viewing audience were switched off of 44 early-afternoon games, as a requirement to go to the start of the late-afternoon game in the doubleheader. If those late-afternoon games had started 10 minutes later at 4:25 p.m., only 15 of those same early-afternoon games would have been switched off – a significant reduction of 66 percent.
Then, on Monday, July 2nd, the league confirmed it will ease its television blackout rules. No longer will every home team be required to completely sell out their stadium in order for their market’s blackout to be lifted. Now, a team may opt to require just 85% of tickets sold to a home game. If a team were to choose this option, however, then they must transfer more revenue to the visiting team if the remaining 15 percent of tickets are sold.