Lions-Falcons in London will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Eastern


The NFL is trying something different with a 2014 game in London: An early kickoff.

The league announced today that the Lions-Falcons game on Sunday, October 26 will kick off at 1:30 p.m. UK time, which is 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. That’s believed to be the earliest kickoff in NFL history. (The other two London games in 2014 will kick off at the customary time of 1 p.m. Eastern.)

FOX will broadcast the game nationally as the lead-in to its normal 1 p.m. Eastern kickoffs. And, given that everything the NFL does draws big TV numbers, FOX can probably expect big numbers for this game, too — not as big as a typical Sunday afternoon game, but huge compared to what TV networks normally draw on Sunday mornings.

And that leads to an interesting question: If the NFL follows through with the talk of eventually moving eight games a year to London, will it have all eight of those games kick off at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, and then sell that package of eight games to a TV network? If so, the NFL may have just found another lucrative revenue stream. As if the league’s billionaire owners need it.

83 responses to “Lions-Falcons in London will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Eastern

  1. YAY that would be awesome to wake up at 8am and be able to turn on a real live NFL regular season game. I hope they do it.
    While they’re at it can they do games in Australia, Japan, Pakistan and Israel?

  2. Glad I’m not a Lions or Falcons fan. I won’t be watching this one. That’s 6:30 AM PDT for the geniuses at the NFL who don’t think that people on the West Coast watch football no matter who is playing. We won’t get up that early on a Sunday though.

  3. I like it. The 4 hours or so of pre 1 pm game time drivel on the various networks it mostly terrible.

    Would much rather have an actual game on.

  4. Am I reading and/or doing the math on that correctly? 9:30 am Eastern = 6:30 am for those tens of millions or so of us that live in the Pacific Time Zone? (not to mention Hawaii – what would that be – 4:30 am?)

  5. Actually makes some sense packaging the London games as a morning NFL kickoff to a network such as ABC or even TNT/TBS.

    “Breakfast from Wembley, American Style”

    Having an “afternoon” game in London will allow teams to leave directly after the game at a reasonable hour, instead of waiting until the next morning to leave.

  6. And then the next year the 49er / Seahawks game will be in London starting at 9:30 a.m. … that’s 6:30a.m. for the hometown fans. That’s nuts.

  7. Why???

    I will be in the US that weekend (hopefully in SF, failing that Oakland) but how is anyone supposed to drink enough by 1:30pm…

  8. here’s just an idea. nobody watch it. I am a lion’s fan and it would be extremely hard not to, but I feel the fans shoukd have some type of voice the nfl should listen to. what is louder then absolute silence?

  9. Seriously Bad Idea! Let me tell you why…I, like many Americans attend church on Sunday mornings and then enjoy watching my favorite team play in the afternoon. The NFL is an awesome product, the problem is they know it and feel they can do anything that will generate another buck regardless of how it effects the average fan. This is a huge disappointment!

  10. You mean I get to sit at the LVH Superbook betting games starting at 6:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. at night? Yes!!! p.s. anyone know a good divorce lawyer?

  11. This is a terrible idea. They will still make ratings and money seeing as it’s not hard to out program a sunday morning…..but 9:30 est? C’mon Man!@.

    I have a great idea…..move it to 11:30 est and roll straight into the afternoon games squashing those ridiculously useless pre-game shows.

  12. I think the NFL should change the division alignments and the entire TV schedule in radical ways to do a lot more revenue creation. I find it nuts that they don’t know how to maximize the potential of their product. They leave gargantuan amounts of money on the table every year.

  13. bucrightoff says:

    Why haven’t they played a game in Germany yet? If memory serves that was pretty much the only place NFL Europe didn’t flop.

    Exactly. The league office started in London, the Monarchs won a title early on, and all that was gone several years before the league as a whole folded. But Goodell can only speak English, or likes Big Ben, or whatever.

  14. With some more international games we could have 24 hrs of football on Sundays
    First game in Syndey
    Second game in Afghanistan (for the troops)
    3rd game London
    4th game east coast
    5th game West coast
    then the sunday night prime time game.

  15. Great that means 7:30 my time. It’s not that I won’t be awake it’s just that I really enjoy having a few drinks while I watch the Lions and I think my roommate might be concerned when he sees me making a 7 am screwdriver.

  16. The Directv Sunday ticket losses another game. First it was Sunday night, then half the time on Thursday, then every Thursday. Now Sunday morning, I will have to explain again to Directv, that a large discount is needed for me to con’t my Sunday ticket purchase.

  17. mataug says:
    Dec 4, 2013 2:35 PM
    Sunday morning really ? How the hell is one supposed to drink on Saturday nights now ?


    Easy, you just keep drinking right into the 6:30am game.

  18. There will be a total of like 7 viewers in all of West Michigan (myself being one of those people) because everyone else will be at Church.

    We got Shiite Catholics up in here. They ain’t missing Church for a Lions game.

  19. I have this really, really ugly feeling this could be a precursor/test to see if the NFL could eventually use Wembley Stadium as a host for a future Super Bowl. They’d have to bump up kickoff to around 2 p.m. Eastern Time in order to accommodate the London time zone, so the league is testing the waters now with a regular season game to see how the ratings would be affected.

  20. It’s hard enough to pass off that noon pre-game beer to the woman. Now you’re tellin me I’m crackin one at 8am?

    Oh well, it’s not alcoholism it’s football.

  21. Its bad enough they are in London, but now They are messing with a serious tradition to ease into Sunday 1pm games. Sleep late, recover from Sat night or your church goers etc. I don’t want NFL to become a job to watch. I won’t be attending. Hope the ratings are dismal…

  22. Perhaps the early start is the league trying to limit the exposure of Nstompukong Suh. And who could blame it – I’m sure #90 will be sure to leave his mark across the pond, despite the 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalties and subsequesnt fines. What a cry-baby hack he is.

  23. I have this really, really ugly feeling this could be a precursor/test to see if the NFL could eventually use Wembley Stadium as a host for a future Super Bowl. They’d have to bump up kickoff to around 2 p.m. Eastern Time in order to accommodate the London time zone, so the league is testing the waters now with a regular season game to see how the ratings would be affected.

  24. Conceding partial viewership, which translates to lower TV revenues. Odd move, makes one think EU is just a filler and not important for most of USA.

  25. That game is set up for stats guys to come up with some new stats. We have all heard thes ridiculous stat comments during games. things like “That is the 25th carrer touchdown pass for Tom Brady in the final minute of the third quarter in games with a 4 o’clock start on odd days in November”.

    Now we can hear “That is the first touchdown pass thrown by Matt Stafford/Matt Ryan, in London, in a game that started before 10AM Eastern to a RB and blah blah blah…”

  26. Most think this will get bad ratings, which it will for the first half. But imagine all the people that are sick of watching 2 hours of pre game. Plus I bet there are lots of guys that would love to see a game BEFORE church.

  27. 9:30 is not insanely early for 99 percent of adult Americans. Meanwhile, East Coast viewers have to stay up until midnight to catch most Sunday night/MNF/every West Coast playoff game in every sport ever. I’m not crying because folks will need to get up at 6:30 a.m. to watch a little football.

  28. I want to know the reason for this. (Not that it would affect the fact that I would still set my DVR for this game…)

    It’s becoming more and more apparent that the NFL wants to put a franchise in London. I still think this would be a terrible mistake. Leave the London thing as it is now–a novelty for the British. A franchise there would fail miserably.

  29. ziggystheansah says:
    Dec 4, 2013 2:32 PM
    God help the falcons.

    …And EVERYONE IN FREAKING AMERICA… 9:30 AM is insanely early, and it’s brutal for West Coasters.

    Yes it is early…but no worse than staying up until 11:30 or past midnite to watch a late game on the east coast.

  30. I hope this bombs. London doesn’t care about US football – just like US sports fans don’t care about soccer (someone please tell ESPN to stop the soccer nonsense, that no one here cares). Right now it’s a novelty, something unusual. Start having 4 or 8 games a year there and the novelty will soon wear off and the crowds won’t be any bigger than they are in any of the Florida stadiums.

  31. I guess all these people complaining have never heard of a new invention called the DVR? Personally I can’t wait to watch 12 hours straight of NFL football!

  32. Every whiner complaining here will set their alarm clocks and roll-out of bed (or stay in it) to watch NFL football.

    The ratings will be through the roof for that time period, and if you don’t believe, how are those British Open ratings when Tiger or Phil are in contention?


  33. Anyone who thinks 9:30AM is “insanely early” must be in college. I’m up by 6:30 regardless of the day of the week and what I did the night before. It’s called conditioning.

  34. I don’t know, Suh may not have had his morning coffee, and we know how he behaves when he’s crabby.

  35. I stumbled into a sports bar in Munich in the middle of the night and found a crowd of Americans watching every single game. Football fans will find a way to watch.

  36. Why doesn’t the league just get over it already and blow up the whole schedule. The biggest competition any NFL game faces is other NFL games. Why not just play each game individually.

    So what if players don’t have time to heal between a Thursday and a Sunday?

    So what if fans become bored with an oversaturation of the product?

    So what if hardcore fans become alienated by having their traditions and routines thrown out the window?

    It’s all about all the money you can get, right now.

    So, just stop screwing around already and schedule games for every day of the week.

    Except Friday night. And Saturday. ‘Cause you wouldn’t want to mess with your anti-trust exemption.

  37. Being on the west coast, I really don’t think it’s that big of deal.
    1) It’s the Lions/Falcons game, who cares.
    2) Waking up to football with some Bloody Marys might be a great way to start a Sunday.
    3) In this day in age, if you don’t have some sort of recording device, you need to upgrade. Just DVR the game and wizz past the commercials after you wake up. Hell, pro football is already 1 hour of game time, 2.5 hours of commercials.
    4) I wake up early a couple times of year for Wimbledon and the French Open finals just fine.

  38. Thank god for all the math wizards on here that were able to figure out what the west-coast time would be.

    As a lions fan on the East Coast I look forward to this.

  39. Finally, I have been saying this should happen for awhile. They should do this on Thanksgiving day as well so their could be a quadruple headheader.

  40. For all you crying about how early it is, have you ever heard of DVR. Record it get up when you want to fast forward through commercials, and be done on time for the next kickoff. You get four games that day. What a great day in the NFL

  41. This kick-off time definitely tests whether American audiences would respond to a future Super Bowl played in London. More immediately, it will give the NFL an idea how it stacks up to Premier League action, which takes places roughly at the same time. It suggests that the NFL is worried about EPL action gaining traction among American audiences in wanting to nip the soccer, ahem, real football, virus in the butt.

  42. Meh, welcome to the club, eastern time zone.

    If you are on the west coast, and especially if your team plays on the east coast (home or away), you’re up at 930 am for a 10am kickoff many weekends anyways.

  43. Dude. I have Game Rewind. I can see 4 rerun games at the same time every day of the week.

    That doesn’t make the NFL much money in ratings and ad revenue, though.

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