Schedule-gate 2013: We’re not all going to get everything we want

March 20, 2013 | Glenn Clark

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.

(Continued on Page 3…)

5 Comments For This Post

  1. PghSteve Says:

    Another thing – the NFL has known since January 20th that there was a 50% chance the Ravens could be hosting the opening game on September 5th. Did they wait almost 2 months to try to work this out? Seems to me that work on finding a compromise should have been started on the Monday morning of January 21st, and maybe it was. Do you know when the NFL started to work out a deal?

    (Edit from Glenn: It was roughly around then, yes. But the MLB schedule was already set even at that point.)

  2. Jason Manelli Says:

    The Ravens should just play the opener away on Thursday. It would be a fitting tribute to a team that did their best work ‘away’ in their playoff run. Hell, play the game in Denver if you want, and remind those pansies how Ravens Nation rolls. Sh*t happens. I’m a season ticket holder for the Ravens and have been since 1996 – the stadium will be rocking for the home opener and I’ll be there. Like you wrote Glenn, we’re not all going to get what we want and sh*t does happen. Whats more disturbing then us not opening at home, is that the Ravens are peeing on the O’s even though they are the ones asking for a big and difficult favor.

    (Edit from Glenn: In agreement with everything except the notion the Ravens are “peeing” on the Orioles. They’re negotiating…with a lot of cash. The Orioles would stand to benefit financially if they chose to help, but if they believe playing the game Thursday is better for their team, they don’t have to help either. There’s public perception that’s “peeing” on the Orioles…I’m trying to separate those things.)

  3. kevinb Says:

    glenn,i appreciate everything you and drew have to say.the precedent has already been set by the orioles about moving things around.if the ravens have to go on the road and we miss our big reward for winning the superbowl all the good will the orioles cultivated from last years success will be soiled. dont think we all havent forgotten about 15 years of pure i think the nfl is too big for its britches?absolutely.but as mel brooks said “its good to be the king”.the orioles have had 6 weeks to fix this.most of us think they are holding out for some sort of settlement. thats fine.we all know who we are dealing with in mr angelos.if the stadium authority needs to step in so be it.this is a football town and no matter whos fault it is the orioles and specifically mr angelos are gonna be pilloried.-keep up the good work.

  4. Justin Says:

    Glenn, simple solution to avoid this mishap in my opinion. If there are two professional teams that share a stadium/parking/etc, then make that an open date for the baseball team every year a home series falls on that date. There is enough shuffling done to the baseball schdules that this could have been avoided. However, the issue now is that no matter what, unless the Orioles give up a competetive edge and move the game to daytime, in which the white sox agree and the ravens can keep the home opener, the fans and the city of Baltimore are going to lose out on what could have been a great experience and showcase of the city. Orioles are not at fault here, MLB and the NFL, are at fault for failing to forsee the possibility of this occurance. There cant be that many citys that share facilites that this fix would affect. great article and kudos on the research.

  5. matt Says:

    drews on one side. nestor on the other. and you said it on page 1, youre in the middle.

    (Edit from Glenn: It’s not quite as much “in the middle” as it is that I want the Maryland Stadium Authority to get involved to make sure what’s done here is what’s best for the taxpayers of the state of Maryland considering the two buildings are publicly funded.)

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