Late-night Sunday night football likely won’t become a regular feature

Getty Images

Before the Chargers visited the Raiders in the first game ever to begin at 11:35 p.m. ET, we suggested that, if enough people were watch the West Coast prime-time game, the league could make it a semi-regular thing.

Enough people didn’t watch.

The league office advises that the audience for the game was a mere 2.5 million, including the local viewers in Oakland, who didn’t watch the game on NFLN.  In contrast, the relatively ho-hum October 10 Thursday nighter between the Giants and Bears delivered an audience of 7.8 million — more than triple the late Sunday number.

The audience for the close-to-witching-hour kickoff possibly was inflated by those who tuned in for the novelty of it.  If it were a semi-regular event, some of those would go elsewhere (like to bed), driving the audience down.

So, basically, if the NFL is going to look for more places to put cheese in the pizza, it turns out that plenty of people weren’t waiting all day — and night — for Sunday night in the Pacific time zone.

24 responses to “Late-night Sunday night football likely won’t become a regular feature

  1. I live on the West Coast and I had forgotten the game was even on until the second quarter. I was programmed into thinking that football for Sunday was done after the 1st Sunday Night game.

  2. Would it really be that difficult to lineup the teams playing on Thursday night to be teams coming off Bye Weeks??? If the safety thing is an actual issue and not just a convenient excuse for people who dont want thursday night games.

  3. CST here, and I didn’t watch. It was too late, and after watching 9+ hours of football already I wasn’t really that pumped for the Chargers-Raiders.

  4. I miss the late season Saturday games that the NFL used to play after college football ended. Whatever happened to them? Oh, that’s right. Roger Goodell.

  5. If it were the 49ers or Seahawks playing, I would have watched it. But, it was for two teams who have no hopes of making the playoffs. I think I made the right decision going to bed.

  6. I’m a long-time Charger fan with a vested interest in the Raider rivalry…

    but even I didn’t expect fans to stay up late to see a 2-2 team vs. a 1-3 team

  7. NFL Network is just Roger Goodell’s attempt to force people to pay more for the product, with the intent to put pressure on Network Cable to either pay more or transition all NFL games on to the Network, giving the NFL total control of the money & viewership. In the end, it won’t work. In fact, it will depress the NFL viewership significantly & reduce the total revenue. All of Goodell’s ideas hurt more than they help.

  8. West coast here. Also, fan of the AFC West. So, a game I would normally watch. But man, it really was late. I can only imagine just how ridiculous an idea it would be for someone on the east coast to watch that thing. It probably didn’t end until sunrise in New York.

  9. Show all the games live on NFL.com for a season fee. I will watch jags vs giants at 1AM if I have access and nothing better to watch.

  10. 70 million households get the NFL Network, not sure why people keep saying many don’t get it. That’s well over half the homes with TVs so by definition, most do get NFL Network.

  11. If it had been any team but the Raiders, I would not have stayed up to watch it. And if I had a regular job and had to get up early Monday to go to work, I would not have stayed up for it.

  12. I love the degenerate special every Saturday night in college football (Usually the Hawaii game) that allows me to have one more game to bet on, especially when I took a bath on that day’s game. However, since everyone knows there is no gambling on the NFL, they won’t be adding a degenerate special on Sunday night.

  13. Two-thirds of the country was asleep when the first quarter ended. the numbers being that low is not a surprise. if you honestly expected the game to draw a typical TNF audience you are not too bright.

  14. I know I am in the minority, but I liked having a game on at 8:30 p.m. on the West Coast. I used to live on the East Coast and was used to having a few beers while watching a late game then getting to bed around midnight. So much better watching NFL at night …I just cant get used to games starting at 10 a.m.

Leave a Reply