Anquan Boldin and those who agree with him aren’t going to be happy.
According to Matthew Futterman and Shalini Ramachandran of the Wall Street Journal, the NFL is considering adding more Thursday night games to its current slate of 13 televised by NFL Network.
Per the report, the league could stage some Thursday night doubleheaders, with games being televised on networks other than the league-owned broadcast operation.
The NFL reportedly is disappointed that the present approach, which expanded last year to cover most Thursdays, hasn’t generated more interest. In addition to additional Thursday night games, some of the games currently televised by NFL Network could be sold to other networks.
While the first Thursday night of the season is an obvious spot for a second game, it would be hard to sell more short-week games once the season has begun. From the 13 Thursday night games on NFL Network to the three Thanksgiving games on CBS, FOX, and NBC, each of the 32 teams plays one game on a Thursday after playing on a Sunday. For competitive reasons, it could be unfair to compel some teams to play a second short-week game.
Also, the NFLPA would have to agree to more Thursday night games. With player health and safety now receiving so much attention, it could be hard to sell the players on additional Thursday night games.
The better approach could be to sell all of the Thursday night games to the highest bidder. That would reduce the revenues of NFL Network by dropping advertising dollars and subscriber fees, but it could generate hundreds of millions of dollars via a tug of war between other cable networks.
That’s a drum the NFLPA should be banging. If the players are going to be playing one game per year with three days’ rest, the league needs to maximize the money that comes from it. By keeping the games on NFL Network, the league probably isn’t.