For what it’s worth, the Ravens and the league would prefer to not play the game on Rosh Hashanah. In messages exchanged with a league source, I absolutely understood the message. Rosh Hashanah is by no means a “non-starter” per se, but all parties involved would rather avoid playing on the holiday if at all possible.
That won’t pacify everyone and I fully understand that. The truth is that Rosh Hashanah isn’t fully the reason the NFL won’t be moving the game to Wednesday night (but you already knew that). Instead, as a source told me Wednesday-the league will not move the game off Thursday night because their network partner (NBC) won’t give it the go-ahead.
NBC pays the National Football League $950 million a season for game rights. It’s a staggering number that helps to provide a significant chuck of the shared revenue that ultimately allows individual franchises to operate. One year ago, NBC made a decision in concert with the NFL that going up against President Obama’s speech was not in the best interests of either party. The move did cost NBC a significant amount of viewers, however.
In 2011, the NFL opened the season on a Thursday night with 24.47 million sets eyeballs glued to the contest between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. By moving the game to Wednesday the following year, the league lost four million viewers, despite the fact that the game featured was played between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys-two of the most significant markets in all of pro football.
I wasn’t surprised that NBC had responded to my request for comment after my source told me they were the driving force in why the opening game wouldn’t be played Wednesday.
The NFL isn’t playing their season opener on a Wednesday because they sold a $950 million annual package to NBC that includes a Thursday night season opener. There’s just no getting around that for any party involved.
It’s for the same reason that if you were in advertising sales for the phone book and sold a full page ad to a local dentist’s office you wouldn’t decide to go back and make it a quarter page ad after you collected the money.
It’s for the same reason that if you work in landscaping, you wouldn’t collect money from the people that own the 26 acre property that pays your salary and then tell them you were only going to work on 12 of their acres.
When someone is funding your business, you acquiesce to their desires. Actually, strike that. You simply live up to your already agreed upon deal.
Get over the Rosh Hashanah thing. The truth is that the Ravens (and the NFL) would prefer to not play the game on Rosh Hashanah, but it isn’t the non-starter. Moving the game off Thursday for any reason at all is the non-starter.
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