Black Friday eventually could become an NFL gameday

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As the NFL creates a broadcasting strategy that more accurately reflects ever-changing consumption habits, the rise of Amazon as a home for NFL games and the ongoing dominance of Amazon when it comes to worldwide shopping habits create an obvious opportunity for a new day on the NFL’s calendar.

Black Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving, the traditional launch of the holiday shopping season, could see an NFL game on Amazon, with viewers able to make purchases during the commercial breaks. Or possibly while watching the game.

“Amazon wanted more from us, and they’ll dedicate tremendous resources to make this work for them and for us,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Peter King of Football Morning in America. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll play a game on Black Friday, their biggest shopping day of the year.”

Such a possibility comes with various hurdles. If the teams in a Black Friday game played the prior Sunday, that’s a five-day gap between games. If those teams have a Thursday-after-Sunday game elsewhere in the season, a competitive imbalance can arise, since those teams would have more short-week games than other teams. (In 2020, the Vikings and Saints played on a Friday, but the two teams didn’t otherwise have a Sunday-Thursday game that year.)

The approach also presents a potential political/legal problem. The broadcast antitrust exemption prevents the NFL from televising games on Fridays and Saturdays from Labor Day weekend through the middle of December, as protection for high school and college football. If the game isn’t televised (including in the local markets of the teams involved), a streaming-only option could provide an end run around the exception to the broadcast antitrust exemption.

That may not be a bridge the league wants to cross, however. Arguing that the exception to the broadcast antitrust exemption doesn’t apply to streaming could invite an argument that the exemption itself doesn’t apply to streaming, setting the stage for litigation by streaming companies against the league for selling streaming rights as a league-wide package, and not on a team-by-team basis.

In short, Black Friday — a term started by retail employees as something bad that has morphed via time and P.R. into something good — could start as something good for the NFL and end up via time and legal rulings into something bad.

10 responses to “Black Friday eventually could become an NFL gameday

  1. First Christmas Friday last year and now Black Friday?! Is nothing sacred anymore?!!!??

  2. If everybody is out shopping they aren’t watching the game. I don’t think that is such a great idea. Thanksgiving day has everyone at home and trapped with their family. Watching football with them is part of the experience. I know too many families that do stuff on that Friday and simply not home to watch. People in the midwest hunt during the day.

  3. “If those teams have a Thursday-after-Sunday game elsewhere in the season, a competitive imbalance can arise, since those teams would have more short-week games than other teams.”
    ——————

    This makes no sense.

    Both teams playing Friday have the same short rest and has the same probability of winning as they do playing on Sunday…

  4. Playing on “Black Friday” might of been a better idea last season when COVID lockdowns were in full force.

  5. Makes sense for Amazon to do whatever they can to convince people to stay home on that day and do their shopping online.

  6. Just stay away from Black Friday, NFL. It’s a day packed with plenty of great college football rivalry games. While you’re at it, give Thursday nights back to college as well, with the exception of Thanksgiving. The NFL games are generally awful on Thursday nights. I know about the new TV deal with Amazon, so this won’t happen. I also know games were played every day of the week this past season. But I think going back to more traditional scheduling yields a better product.

  7. The NFL will stop at nothing to make more money. It’s never enough for them and it’s with little regard to what the fans think.

  8. mikeyb says: “The NFL will stop at nothing to make more money. It’s never enough for them and it’s with little regard to what the fans think.”
    ——————

    The league IS doing what the fans want. If nobody watched TNF, they would move the games back. But clearly fans don’t mind, as 15 million viewers watch. That’s a lot more than they get compared to the Sunday afternoon game.

    And they wouldn’t be able to “make more money” without the fans actually SPENDING the money on the NFL.

  9. Nobody wants to watch a short week Denver-Washington matchup on college football rivalry weekend. The NFL would really need to bring some heat.

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