Report: NFL will ditch early-morning London games

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When it comes to making the NFL’s product more attractive by making it more scarce, the NFL claims it won’t consider ditching or limiting Thursday Night Football. However, it reportedly will be ditching another fairly recent broadcasting practice.

Via Joe Flint of the Wall Street Journal, the NFL will stop playing London games separate and apart from the usual 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday window. The change, according to Flint, will commence next year.

This means that the 9:30 a.m. ET kickoffs will end in 2017, eliminating three Sundays when football was available to be watched in four Sunday windows, at 9:30 a.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. ET, 4:05/4:25 p.m. ET, and 8:30 p.m. ET.

Just last week, a report emerged that the NFL was considering scrapping the early Sunday games. The absence of 9:30 a.m. ET games removes live football from prime time in Asia, which was one of the more attractive aspects of playing a game in that window.

ESPN, NFL Network, FOX, and CBS likely are happy about the change, since most football fans would choose to watch actual football over the Sunday pregame shows.

Of course, if the 9:30 a.m. ET games had generated the kind of interest that the NFL had hoped they would, the change wouldn’t have happened. This year’s ratings crisis is proving that stand-alone football isn’t special simply because it’s football and it’s on TV. To attract significant interest in today’s climate, a stand-alone game must be significant.

81 responses to “Report: NFL will ditch early-morning London games

  1. Interesting.

    Scarily enough, that was one of the ONLY things I liked about the London games. Was nice to eat breakfast and watch live football a few times a year.

  2. Living out west, I haven’t watched a London game yet. You just aren’t going to get me up at 6:30/7:30 on a Sunday to watch teams I normally don’t root for.

    Good riddance!

  3. they are morons if they think the morning London games make a difference one way or another in ratings

  4. it is wrong to have division games on a thursday or have division games with one having a bye. make it equal

  5. I hope this goes for Mexico too. The match-ups are totally unwatchable,not to mention that apparently, it’s okay in Mexico to use lasers to distract the QB that you are rooting against. It is completely messed up that nothing was done about that. Keep the NFL in the USA…

  6. I actually really enjoyed the Sunday morning games. It was nice waking up and having a nice breakfast while watching football.

    Concerning Thursday night games, I don’t believe I watched one Thursday night game to completion unless my fantasy guys were going. The match ups were horrific. I just went back and checked the schedule and there were maybe one or two games that was worth anything (Texans vs Pats). Too many games like Baltimore vs Browns.

  7. I liked the early morning games. They were a treat.

    I would be more inclined to watch Ravens-Browns at 9:30am on a Sunday then waste my Thursday Night on that garbage.

  8. When are longtime NFL fans from the West Coast ask Goodell why Beijing is getting games in prime time while you have to get up at 6:30 am on a Sunday?
    .

  9. Id only watch that 9:30 am sunday game if my team (giants) were playing in it…thats it. I mean the patriots vs raiders or the cowboys vs seahawks could be playing that game, and I wouldnt wake up to watch it.

  10. Ditch Thursday games.

    Sunday Day, Sunday Night, and Monday Night is plenty. Monday Night is pushing it honestly. Too much stuff going on, the more compact schedule the more likely I am to watch.

    Focus on fantasy. Lots of money there. Lots of interest in this.

    Thursday hampers these activities. Make it easier, and you can see an increase. Make fantasy tougher, and interest falls off.

    Stop pretending like it doesn’t exist and embrace it. Capitalize off it.

    The NFL has to accept they are not the center of the universe.

  11. Meh. Whatever.

    Football starts here on the west coast at 10am every Sunday anyway and I love it.

    Last game off by 8:30 pm and I don’t fall asleep int he 4th quarter. There is still plenty of time left in the evening to do other things after the game.

    I am not sure why people on the east coast don’t like that. I grew up in Detroit waiting on 1pm but now no more waiting.

  12. Ditch them, period. Watered down product, worst commissioner of any league in any era and officials that couldn’t spell cat if you spotted them the C and the T.

  13. As a east coaster… love a good morning game along with the British Open, Wimbledon, etc… but… Understand they aren’t pulling ratings from the rest of the country unless they are getting up at 8:30, 7:30, 6:30, etc. The NFL wants the whole country watching football, so easily understandable why they would want to change.

  14. Who cares? I only watch my teams games now. They can have games on every other week and I wouldn’t watch. Too many commercials, too many penalties and too much good ell

  15. The over-saturation problem is the sum total of live games and news coverage. The problem is Goodell’s scandal factory from trumped up deflategate and bountygate scandals and inconsistent bizarre suspension decisions. If fans had to hear less about Goodell’s weird power trip suspensions and investigations they would have more appetite left to watch live football.

  16. Never mind ditching the London morning games in which I can actually finish watching, but change the times from these Monday/Thursday games. These 830 starts are too late

  17. I say ditch London and Mexico and keep Thursdays,but make the match-ups better. This week for example: Boys vs Vikes. That should be a good one. Really though,I only watch Thursday NFL for the Color Rush unis. ; )

  18. ELIMINATE THE GAMES PLAYED IN OTHER COUNTRIES ALL TOGETHER! NOBODY BUT THE NFL WANTS THE LEAGUE IN OTHER COUNTRIES!!!!!!!!!

  19. bronxbombers23 says:
    Nov 29, 2016 6:19 PM
    Never mind ditching the London morning games in which I can actually finish watching, but change the times from these Monday/Thursday games. These 830 starts are too late

    ______________________________________

    Exactly! The left coasters have had it made with all these late starting games. There should be no NFL kickoff times beyond 7:00 p.m. est.

  20. Over saturation is the point, thank you all.

    NFL Football has become overworked, milked for every drop, and exhausted.

    I enjoy MN Countdown with Boomer and the gang… for 1 hour, 1 hour… including some… some… guest star interview, plus Dilfers Dimes, You Got Mossed, and Cmon Man. But now we have 2 hours… and then 17 more minutes of hearing Mike and John and the sideline show analyze MORE stuff we just got done listening to. It’s just far too much… I NEVER… NEVER watch the actually MNF pregame. At that point… just get me to kick off please.

    I LOVE MY DVR!!!!!!

  21. whiteybulgersson says:
    Nov 29, 2016 5:34 PM
    Hope they go to Syria with Goodell next year
    ————————-
    I hear Obama will have some free time to make the trip with him

  22. bronxbombers23 says:
    Nov 29, 2016 6:19 PM
    Never mind ditching the London morning games in which I can actually finish watching, but change the times from these Monday/Thursday games. These 830 starts are too late

    —————————————————————————————————————

    That’s just 5:30pm West Coast. Any earlier and people would miss a lot on the way home from work

  23. jjfootball says:
    Nov 29, 2016 6:29 PM
    ELIMINATE THE GAMES PLAYED IN OTHER COUNTRIES ALL TOGETHER! NOBODY BUT THE NFL WANTS THE LEAGUE IN OTHER COUNTRIES!!!!!!!!!
    ************************************************

    I’ll go along with that! Apparently the NFL is NOT paying any attention to their own post-game polling of the attendees (they are NOT fans). They invariably go for the novelty but would not buy a season ticket to anything but international futbol.

  24. So if I’m drinking beer at 6:30am PT, I can’t blame it on the NFL schedule any more? Sheesh.

  25. “The absence of 9:30 a.m. ET games removes live football from prime time in Asia, which was one of the more attractive aspects of playing a game in that window.”
    _________

    Unless they were marketing those London games in Asia or had some sort of rebroadcast agreement with Asian networks that non-football fans actually watch, that is about the dumbest argument for those games imaginable. NOBODY who doesn’t already watch football regularly was watching, making it totally irrelevant that it happened to be in prime time.

  26. “The absence of 9:30 a.m. ET games removes live football from prime time in Asia, which was one of the more attractive aspects of playing a game in that window.”
    ________

    Wait a minute… were they actually marketing the London games in Asia and/or having them rebroadcast on networks there that non-football fans watch? Because if the answer is “no” it was totally irrelevant whether it was prime time or not. A couple of nights a year some network you probably have never heard of has something on during prime time. How would anybody who wasn’t already a football fan even know about it?

  27. Lets have a show of hands. How many Fan Boys really think that Roger runs the league?? WOW! Did you know that even in the areas where he has broad decision making discretion, the parameters are all defined by the owners? Did you know that everything he does is overseen by majority owner vote or committee? Hey Fan Boys, if you hate Goodell so bad, how come you blindly support his product? Has your income or relationships suffered because of his actions? Has he increased your taxes? Does he control the weather, your sex life? Do you not have anything else to worry about which directly affects your life like your family, friends, career or are you so consumed by Goodell hate that nothing else matters??? Tick tock you sad freaks!

  28. To be honest, I never would nor will watch NFL or NCAA football at that time. Make whatever criticism you will and thumbs down all you want; that time of weekend for is reserved for watching premier league/la liga replays / champions league soccer. Soccer carried me to my private school that parents couldn’t afford, and scholarship to college I, nor my family could afford. At 31 yrs. old soccer owns Saturday and Sunday mornings for my 4yr old son, and 2yr old daughter. We wake up early, and practice while watching matches between 8-12am every Saturday and Sunday. They don’t view it as practice but as play time!

    Don’t get me wrong I avidly watch football any time it’s on, except early weekends has been a long tradition for me.

  29. .

    get rid of Thursday football another money grab.
    Football is Sunday 1pm+ and Monday that is all.

  30. Too late, you’ve lost too many of us due to your greed. It’s no longer fun.

    NFL games used to be something a lot of Americans (and the world, I suppose) looked forward to. Now it never seems to end; too many days a week.

    There’s also the absolutely crappy announcers – (Gruden; “That’s one of the greatest throws I’ve ever seen ” – a 15 yard Jay Cutler out route in 2014) – I laffed – no spelling flames please – purposeful spelling- and changed the channel. – Then there’s so many games; too many games for such little game day talent. Commercials, horrible refs who are too slow to keep up, did I mention commercials?

    **** Did I mention I’ve had season tickets to the Raiders for 20+ years. I give those tickets to co-workers or friends.

    I only watch College now.

    A root canal and colonoscopy are right behind the NFL now Rog….

    I’m just done….

  31. 3:30 AM Hawaii time. Seriously? Also, the London game steals a home game from a team. Horrible idea from the start. I hope they get rid of it.

  32. People who love the 930 am start are either retired or dont work (for whatever reason). The 930 am (est) game is nonsensical….and thats why its being done away with.

  33. A lot of ignorance about “Asia” here.

    “Asia” is home to a lot of expats. Not to mention countries like Phillipines who are heavily influenced by American culture.

    Australia falls into the “Asian” time slot and though they are only 24 million, there are a lot of avid fans there.

    But when they say “Asia” they mean China, India and Indonesia. Between them that’s nearly 3 BILLION people. Or, America’s population x10. So even if their viewership is 1% of ours, that’s a 10% increase in total eyeballs. And there are MANY NFL fans in this part of the world. Such a decadent and violent spectacle, featuring the world’s biggest fastest strongest most agile men. Of course there is interest.

    Incidentally, I’ve met kids as young as 12 here in Shanghai who could identify most of the teams and players by their English names, and knew a fair amount about the game. And most of them were fans of Tom Brady and the Patriots. I’ve met ONE Seahawks fan.

  34. I normally just record the games I want to see, and watch them at my convenience (like when the wife and kids are out shopping or visiting friends), and I skip over the commercials.

    It’s surprising how much quicker and enjoyable the games are without the commercials.

  35. The problem is London being so many time zones away.

    Good teams don’t want to play the London game. Fans don’t want to get up early on a Sunday to watch crappy teams. So who plays?

    Would the NFL honestly waste a premier matchup on a Sunday morning London game rather than have (for example) Cowboys/Steelers/Patriots/Etc battle it out on Monday night? Or Sunday night?

    This game is an idea that should have been aborted in a boardroom by a less-greedy commissioner.

  36. Once again the west coast wins. Those of us on the East coast who regularly see night games end around 1AM don’t get to feel like west coasters for 3 Sundays.

  37. Frum Slum says:
    Nov 29, 2016 6:54 PM

    bronxbombers23 says:
    Nov 29, 2016 6:19 PM
    Never mind ditching the London morning games in which I can actually finish watching, but change the times from these Monday/Thursday games. These 830 starts are too late
    —————————————————————————
    That’s just 5:30pm West Coast. Any earlier and people would miss a lot on the way home from work
    _____
    Your statement assumes that no one in the Pacific Time Zone owns a DVR, and the only way they can possibly view the game is to view it live in their living room. I haven’t seen any study, but I’m convinced just as many people in the Pacific Time Zone own a DVR as people in the other time zones.

    It is much easier to DVR the start of a game and watch it later in the evening than to DVR the end of a game and try to NOT find out what happened until later in the next day. I have to get up at 5 AM every day to get to work. I’m sure I’m not the only one. So I have a choice – watch the whole game, and try to function on 5 hours’ sleep, or miss the end of the game. I tried to stay up this past Sunday, but I fell asleep watching (not because the game was bad, but just because my body was tired). I missed a fantastic ending.

    No major game – and this includes playoff games in all the major sports – should start even 1 minute later than 7:05 EST. The folks on the West Coast can set their DVRs, and when they get home from work, either rewind to the start of the game or watch the whole game after it ends. It is wrong to punish half the audience by making them miss the end of the game so that the other half of the audience can see the beginning of the game.

  38. I say ditch this endless idea of having games overseas is a good idea. it is about time the NFL gets that they are over saturating things.

  39. Does it strike anyone else as disingenuous when the NFL makes a big show of their supposed patriotism while at the same time disregarding their American fan bases in the name of greed?

    The most entertaining part of the NFL for me in recent memory has been how out of touch the leagues leadership has shown themselves to be. I stopped caring when you did.

  40. i dont get it? People complain about morning games in London? If you don’t like them, don’t watch them. Some of us actually love watching NFL football with our morning coffee.

  41. …..the NFL just can’t do ANYTHING right….the things fans hate about, they push that agenda…..the 9:30 am Sunday was unique & enjoyable…..so OF COURSE they get rid of it……

  42. jimbo75025 says:
    Nov 29, 2016 5:30 PM
    Interesting.

    Scarily enough, that was one of the ONLY things I liked about the London games. Was nice to eat breakfast and watch live football a few times a year
    ______________________________________
    Completely agree. Coffee, breakfast, football is a magical combination. Toss in a little Baileys and its even better.

    It’s not fair to the NFL, but if it’s about the fans, let’s only send East Coast teams to London and keep the games. If you live on the West Coast and cheer for an East Coast team, show your loyalty and wake up 2 hours early. Sunday is a day of rest anyway.

  43. Unless they’re going to make other teams play early at the same time, then scrapping early London games is best.

    People sleep in and go to church on Sunday mornings. It also screws with a gigantic portion of the NFL’s viewership which play fantasy football and has to set their lineups before game time.

    Early morning Sunday football serves as a detriment to the NFL rather than a benefit.

  44. I enjoyed 9 am football. I understand the frustration for west coast fans, but now you know how us on the east coast feel when we miss sunday/monday night football due to work early the next morning. I think 9 am football should stay, just keep it two (hopefully competitive) east coast teams.

  45. arwiv says:
    Nov 29, 2016 11:17 PM
    People who love the 930 am start are either retired or dont work (for whatever reason). The 930 am (est) game is nonsensical….and thats why its being done away with.
    ———————————————————————
    Another category of people, and this is a large group, work Monday through Friday with Saturdays and Sundays off. The London games are played during those off days. As others have pointed out, many people also have recording devices known as DVRs.

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