Saturday football remains a possible option for the NFL

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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.

12 responses to “Saturday football remains a possible option for the NFL

  1. Don’t need to play on Saturday. Makes no sense actually. The schedules and TV deals are all set for 2020.

  2. I’d be surprised if the NFL’s contracts with the networks would allow them to make deals for Saturday viewing separate from the networks. I’d be happy to watch games on Saturday–if NFL football is played in 2020, I’d be fine with watching it at 3am on a Thursday–but I doubt that will happen without the networks.

  3. Again (it’s worth repeating), a student athlete that attends a private university for “room, board, tuitions, health insurance, and snacks” earns the equivalent of $125-150k per year before taxes. It’s not free.

    An out of state student at a public university would probably earn equivalent of $80k. That’s more than XFL guys made, right?

  4. I still do not understand what the big deal is of moving the NFL season to the spring. Hopefully there will be a vaccine or therapeutic by then or the infection rate will be under control so that player and fan safety can be better assured. These are extraordinary times so extraordinary measures need to be taken. Better than starting the season and having to stop or playing in front of empty stadiums.

  5. I’m to the point that your schedule isn’t going to affect me one way or the other, NFL.

  6. I won’t pay extra (PPV or Game Pass) to watch NFL games on Saturdays or any other day. It is just not that important, despite the notion we can’t live without it (and I’m a football junkie).

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