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12/13/2012

The NFL has a growth problem

Roger-GoodellAt first, Roger Goodell wanted to expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games but the player’s union actually won that fight. Now he is hinting at expanding the playoffs from 12 to 16 teams; click here for more details on this concept.

Bad idea.

From Troy Aikman's Twitter account, @TroyAikman: "Couldn't disagree more w Commissioner Goodell's consideration of expanding NFL playoffs to 14 or 16 teams.” 

Why does Goodell keep proposing expanding this or that? The NFL is a business and if you aren’t growing you are dying. People like to talk about "the good of the game" when the growth of the business is the unspoken priority.

Call it greed or whatever, but it is a business practice followed by a loooooot of companies throughout the world.

Unlike the NBA and MLB, which are growing into foreign countries – especially China – there is small foreign interest in the National Football League. The game just doesn't have a following outside of North America because no one plays it.

The games in London and Toronto are nice little bumps, but not the type of growth a billionaire-dollar business wants.

The NFL and Goodell have to create growth. If the interest in American football remains limited in places such as Europe and China how can he create a bigger ocean of cash?

000102468Price points on tickets may have hit the ceiling – Goodell has commented that the league has to address fans who would rather stay home and watch on TV rather than actually attend the game.
The San Diego Chargers are now putting tickets on Groupon.
TV contracts are as fat as they have ever been.
The league will slap a logo on anything up to and perhaps including home breast exams to sell more stuff.

The obvious answer to creating more revenue would be to plop a team in Los Angeles but that project remains stuck in the conception stage.

As far as creating an interest or a demand, the NFL’s model remains the very best in professional sports. There are just enough games that people never feel over-saturated by the product.

Expanding to 18 regular season games threatens that delicate balance between wanting just a little bit more, not to mention diluting the importance and value of games. The division alignment has made it a bit harder for the wildcard teams, thus making an increasing amount of late season games irrelevant.

Adding another series of playoff teams devalues the playoffs just a little bit more.
When the season is over – both regular and post – fans feel satisfied and enjoy the break. Then we can’t wait for it to start again.

Goodell’s problem as a business leader is that he must create more revenue, and the game is landlocked to North America.

As the leader of the NFL Goodell is facing a difficult equation in trying to act in the best interest in the game while servicing the needs of the business.

Comments

Sean from Fort Worth

Professional sports will always has a place in the world because it's good-live-tv-drama. It's fun. Its interesting. But I'll be shocked if the NFL continues to grow much more. It's HUGE right now. You can't spike ticket prices anymore. The TV money can grow but not at epic proportions. I think if pro sports, specifically football, is going to grow star athletes have to invest their contract money in communities. There is a real opportunity to make NFL Stars, local Stars and business people. An interest in professinal sports will always ebb and flow. But an interest in making money is eturnal. Pro sports needs to get big money guys to re-invest in the communities that pay them and root for them. It's truely is the next level in sports growth.

Bounty-gate

Goodell has a ton of problems. Growing The League is the least of his worries.

Heaven Only Knows

If you ask me The NFL is worrying people about head injuries and scaring parents away from letting their kids play football. I think the NFL is fun to watch but I don't think I'll ever let my kids play football. Too violent. Too many injuries and the risk for concussions too great.

Craig Andrews from Dallas

I wish my business had the same problems as Pro Football. It's fun. The money is pouring in. I don't know they are tinkering with it. Surely Pro Sports, including football, has a cap. I don't believe we are their yet, but we are probably close. It's a great sport and the commercial side of it is working. I say, leave it alone.

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