As the Patriot League cancels fall sports amid the pandemic, the question becomes when and if larger conferences will do the same. If they do, the question becomes whether the NFL will move games for TV purposes into the prime Saturday spots vacated by major college programs.
Opinions within college football are mixed on the subject of proceeding with a 2020 season. Some are beginning to realize that, given the current state of the outbreak and the extent to which it continues to spread, college football won’t happen this fall. Others hold out hope that the conference-only approach will work.
On one hand, billions of dollars hang in the balance. On the other hand, unpaid players can be expected to assume only so much risk in exchange for room, board, tuition, and snacks.
Through it all, the NFL continues to monitor the situation. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL has not had any formal discussions about the possibility of moving two or three games to Saturdays. The league, per the source, continues to root for college football to happen as scheduled.
That said, the league could recapture plenty of lost game-day stadium revenue by carving out games from the Sunday windows and featuring them on Saturdays. And if the networks aren’t able or willing to pay for the extra games given the financial realities of the pandemic, the league could sell the rights to a streaming provider — or possibly sell the games directly to consumers under its existing preseason/Game Pass model.
If there’s ultimately no college football in 2020 and if the NFL is able to proceed, fans may be willing to pay plenty of money for the ability to watch games on Saturday, if the traditional broadcast models won’t be practical, given the money already devoted to Thursday, Sunday, and Monday football.