By Thomas Ross, Staff Writer ||
Is the NFL heading towards imminent implosion? Despite being a $10 billion-a-year business, with steady growth, Mark Cuban believes this to be the fate of the NFL.
Cuban first articulated his opinion to reporters during a pregame interview in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks’ locker-room, the team owned by Cuban. The following night, Cuban released a 1,500 word Facebook post presenting five potential reasons why the NFL may be headed in the wrong direction.
Cuban definitely has a point as corporations rarely remain atop their industry forever and obviously the NFL wasn’t always atop the industry of professional sports. In Cuban’s Facebook post, he emphasizes the NFL’s reliance on media driven entities such as television and fantasy football.
The instability that goes along with such entities is reason for concern according to Cuban, who believes the possibility of a new form of entertainment could be detrimental to the NFL’s reign atop the hierarchy of American sports.
Cuban’s main point of emphasis was that the NFL is becoming too greedy and will self-destruct due to oversaturation of the market. In Cuban’s opinion, the NFL’s expansion from Sundays to Mondays, and now Thursdays, has the possibility of creating a “Who Wants to be A Millionaire” effect.
“Who Wants to be a Millionaire” was an extremely popular show that proceeded to slowly decline while seemingly being broadcast on every channel at all times of the day. Cuban attributed the decline in the show’s popularity to its over saturation of the market; whether this is the NFL’s fate remains to be seen.
I find it highly unlikely, however, that the NFL would decline in popularity because they decided to televise games on more days throughout the week.
Furthermore, all of this is speculation and even Cuban admits the NFL will most likely not choose to broadcast games more than the three days they already do, mainly because Monday and Thursday get lower ratings than Sunday games. It’s possible that changes in the way professional football games are broadcast on television could be damaging to the League’s revenue base because the NFL has extremely lucrative TV contracts.
Cuban argues that the NFL is more vulnerable than MLB, the NBA or NHL because of its large audience size, which requires traditional television to stay strong. Cuban is extremely intelligent and most of his points, from an entrepreneurial perspective, are valid.
His concerns for the future of television and other technology related medium are interesting and important to understand. But I think his concerns may be more relevant to a start up league than the country’s most powerful sports enterprise.
The realm in which we watch TV is likely to change and we very well may see more streaming and less traditional delivery. However, there is nothing to prove that the NFL won’t be able to adapt to new technologies.
So, is Cuban just being himself, the contrarian, hurling insults at big brother in hopes that his own league will reach the popularity of the NFL? I leave that for you to decide. But keep in mind that the NFL and the NBA compete for viewership in the months of November, December, and January.
So is Cuban just sick of losing revenue to the Cowboys or is an imminent implosion plausible?
Read Cuban’s full post here.
Senior Thomas Ross is a staff writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.