Is Sunday’s morning TV game from London a prelude of things to come for NFL?

In case you haven’t noticed, you can watch an actual NFL game with your breakfast on Sunday morning. Fox is airing the Detroit-Atlanta game from London coast-to-coast at 9:30 ET.

That means you can consume your blessed NFL for 14-plus hours on Sunday. Thank you, London time zone.

Now it is coming into focus. This is all part of the NFL’s grand plan about playing overseas. Besides developing an entirely new market for football in Europe, the league also could create a new lucrative Sunday morning TV window in the U.S.

Ca-ching, ca-ching. Let’s start the bidding at $300 million.

It makes perfect sense. Who wouldn’t want to watch more football on Sunday? It takes the notion of beer for breakfast to an entirely new level.

Peter King of MMQB wrote about Sunday’s breakfast special.

Not only is the NFL watching closely, but also FOX and CBS. Sunday morning is a potential fourth Sunday window, and you can be sure if viewers flock to this game that at least one game a year from London will start at this insane hour. (Worth mentioning that our left coast friends don’t think it’s insane; those in the Pacific time zone see games at 10 a.m. all season.) But the NFL is eyeing the massive TV audience east of the Mississippi—about 76 percent of all televisions in the United States are in the Eastern and Central time zones—to see if it has an appetite for an early game.

Now there’s still the challenge of how the NFL is going to figure out the London/Europe thing. Jenny Vrentas of MMQB wrote this week:

But what is the endgame for the NFL in London? The two most-talked about scenarios are permanently moving a current franchise across the Atlantic, or expanding the International Series to as many as eight games, in essence giving London a full home schedule with different teams each week. But neither is a perfect solution.

Vrentas then floated this idea.

The regular season should be a 19-week, 17-game schedule, with each team having eight home games, eight away games, two bye weeks and one neutral-site game. The neutral-site games would be like the preseason American Bowls the NFL held around the world from 1986 to 2005—in London, Dublin, Canada, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Japan and Australia—except these would be bona fide regular-season products. The league could even hold games in U.S. states that don’t have a franchise, such as Alabama or Hawaii. Even a certain metropolis in Southern California could host an NFL game.

It sounds different, it sounds farfetched, but it’s actually not. Not to the NFL. I spoke to people in the league office this week and floated the idea. Definitely something to be studied, I was told. Like all major corporations, the NFL models and projects every potential way to grow its business. There are a few major hurdles, of course: The schedule would have to be significantly reorganized, and both owners and players would have to agree to the terms—and we all know the players have adamantly opposed expanding the regular season beyond 16 games.

Eventually, there will be a solution. One thing is for sure: There will be many more Sunday morning NFL games on your breakfast menu in the future.




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