NFL considering changes to draft coverage, location: Will bubble burst at some point?

Andrew Burton

The NFL is always considering ways to expand their dominance of the television scene. Now there are rumors the league is considering expanding the draft to 4 days. At what point does the bubble burst for the NFL?

The NFL moved the 2014 NFL Draft to May because they said another event was occupying Radio City Music Hall at the same time. The event was cancelled relatively recently, but obviously the draft remains May 8-10.

Personally, I call BS on this reasoning, as I have to think the NFL could have worked with the facility to get the draft in April. The common belief (and what I think) is that the NFL was looking to move a tent-pole event to May in order to have notable coverage for every month of the offseason. With a May draft, you have the Super Bowl and the Combine in February, free agency in March, schedule release in April, draft in May, OTAs and minicamp in June, and then training camp at the end of July.

There is some down time mixed in, but the NFL has been able to spread things out pretty well. There are complaints about the May draft, but I do wonder how much is the echo chamber of the Internet and the more intense fans. It can be difficult to figure out how much people actually care that are just a notch below the truly intense football fans.

Roger Goodell had a chance to discuss the draft broadcast schedule today, and he had some interesting comments:

I suppose a fourth day is good for traffic at the site, but it does seem like a chance to exhaust people on the whole event. I do think people would still watch at this point, but at what point does the NFL jump the shark? At what point do they kill the golden goose?

Back in March, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban voiced some opinions about the NFL that ruffled a few feathers. He said that the NFL was due for a potential implosion in the next ten years because they were getting a little too big for their britches:

"I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion," Cuban said Sunday evening when his pregame conversation with reporters, which covered a broad range of topics, swayed toward football. "I'm just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy.

"Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."

He went into more specific detail in a Facebook post. He pointed to the health and safety concerns for parents considering whether their kids should play football, and pointed to concerns about player football. However, his more notable comment for our purposes was about the expansion of coverage. He said he is fine with Thursday Night Football, but wonders at what point will the NFL expand too far. At what point will the public decide it's too much of the same thing.

I do think if the NFL continues expanding its television coverage (both in and out of season), there is a chance that a bubble bursts. Conceivably nothing can expand forever, but the question is how long will it take before the NFL suffers for its expansion?

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