Flexing Monday night games would be good for TV audience, bad for ticket holders

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When there’s a bad game on Monday night, fans complain because there’s no other football on. When there’s a bad game on Sunday afternoon, fans can find another one to watch. That’s the fundamental argument for flexible schedules for Monday Night Football, which the NFL is considering on the next round of TV contracts: It would be better for the fans watching at home.

But it would be worse for the fans buying tickets.

And in some cases it would be significantly worse: Imagine being a fan traveling to out of town games, buying not only flights but hotel rooms to see your favorite team in a road game, only to find out that game has been moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday night, meaning you now either need to cancel your trip altogether or change your flight and re-book your hotel room, likely at significant cost.

For some games, that would affect tens of thousands of fans. Late in the season, fans from cold-weather places like Green Bay and Pittsburgh often travel in droves to destinations like California, Arizona or Florida to cheer on their teams on the road. If the NFL moved, say, a Steelers-Chargers game from Sunday afternoon to Monday night, that would place an enormous burden on a huge number of fans traveling from Pittsburgh.

The reality is, if a network bidding on the next Monday Night Football contract is willing to offer the NFL enough money for flexible scheduling, the NFL is probably going to do it. But it would be a bad deal for the fans in attendance, who increasingly find themselves a lower priority than the fans watching the game from home.

14 responses to “Flexing Monday night games would be good for TV audience, bad for ticket holders

  1. No. Sick of the night games. I couldn’t take my 8 year old to the Falcons opener because it was SNF. Couldn’t take him to Thursday night school night game last year or this year.

    Its hard to develop a fan base amongst the kids (who won’t always be kids) when they’re asleep.

  2. NFL – “build bigger, newer, fancier stadiums or we’ll move the team.”
    Also NFL – “we’ll do everything we can to make it impossible to fill those stadiums”

  3. Hate all night games, live in eastern time zone and get up at 4:45 am.
    I just record and fast forward between plays, takes less than an hour. Having the night games on Fri or Sat would mean more kids could watch as well.

  4. Easy fix is to have multiple Monday night games. And the Network that gets the contract chooses which game to air. NFL Network gets the game they passed on.

    No travel plans would change.

  5. … and… bad for small market midwestern teams playing day games
    at home against PT time zone teams … or… worse for ET time zone teams traveling west.

    The nfl front office (… and mlb) knows how to help certain teams.

  6. As a Fins fan and former season ticket holder living in Massachusetts, this would kill me. A Monday night game, for me, means missing chunks of 2 days of work. Going from a non-refundable plane ticket to a refundable is big $$$.

    I had a trip scheduled a few years back to see a Fins game against the Chargers. It was to be my first since I gave up my season tix about 4 years prior. They flexed it from 1 to 4. There is no flight that leaves late enough for me to make more than half the game. So I swallowed the cost of the plane ticket (the change fee was about the same as the ticket) and didn’t go. Flex destroys out of state fans…

  7. Money talks and that’s all that matters.. The NFL could care less about all the above (legitimate) complaints.

  8. Agree with everything here except about those Steelers, Packers, Bears, etc, fans. Yes, some travel. But most of us live in those areas. For the Steelers, the Pittsburgh diaspora that happened with the end of the steel mills pushed families to these other places. So I’m a local Steelers fan in SoCal. But people like me can still get screwed when they are flying from other parts of the country to see a game in Heinz, Lambeau, Soldier Field, etc.

  9. Flexing MNF would be a total disregard of fans & a slap in the face. The idea above regarding scheduling two MNF games a week & only broadcasting the better of the two seems to be a good idea and fair compromise (not that the NFL feels they owe the fan anything; but it is funny to hear broadcasters/the media calling out fans more & more regarding stadiums not being full, which is quite the head scratcher considering how affordable it is these days to attend in the first place).

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