He can be spotted on the sidelines at Dallas Mavericks games making obscene faces and crazily waving his arms about. He makes deals and gives advice on ABC’s Shark Tank, a show for entrepreneurs trying to make it in the business world. He has never shied away from the media and seemingly always speaks his mind, no matter what. He is business mogul, and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, and he believes the NFL is headed for disaster.
Cuban told reporters that by his estimation the NFL is headed for “implosion” 10 years from now. He went on to explain that the number one rule in business is never get greedy when you have a good thing going, and that is exactly what he thinks the NFL has begun to do. Through the NFL’s continuous expansion of television rights, Cuban believes that the pro football league is going to push its way straight out of popularity. It’s a difficult idea to believe right now considering that the NFL is America’s most popular sports attraction, and only continues to grow, but there may be some merit to what Cuban is saying.
The outspoken Mavs’ owner compared the situation to a game show of all things, reminding people of the one time TV attraction, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and how its fan base plummeted once it started airing every night of the week. For decades, the NFL aired on Sundays and Monday nights, with the added treat of the Thursday Thanksgiving double-header once a season. But in the last decade the NFL has added Thursday Night Football to the regular schedule, and even Saturday games toward the latter weeks of the season. Cuban continuously used terms like “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” providing some playful imagery to his opinion on what will happen if the NFL persists in expanding their television schedule.
NFL Sunday, in a sense, is a tradition for football fans. For the extreme pigskin lover it’s as good as a religion. Many friends, families, and neighbors gather to watch the game with some snacks, engage in a little playful trash talking, cheer on a momentum swinging touchdown, or toss the remote control through the window when their team loses to a bitter rival. If the NFL were to consider spreading games throughout the week, when the majority of people work, or are busy with other things, it is possible it could become more difficult for people to enjoy the sport in the same way they do now. People are creatures of habit, after all, and sometimes when you break the routine, the system crumbles and there is chaos. Mark Cuban envisions that chaos and that is why he believes the NFL is headed for disaster.
There is a group of intense football fans who would also envision chaos if the NFL chose to spread the schedule throughout the week, and that is the fantasy football community. They thrive on going though their line ups every week, checking the injury reports, glancing at the weather, meticulously mulling over the individual match ups their players may encounter, and then setting the final roster for Sunday. Fantasy football has been able to grow to such immense levels of popularity because the majority of games are played one day a week, making it much simpler to compete. Unlike the fantasy games for the other major sports in which games are scattered throughout the week, and if you do not stay on top of things, you risk falling out of contention quickly. Thursday Night Football has already thrown the fantasy footballers a bit of a curve ball, who knows how they would react to another one. Like the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But, with the level of popularity the NFL has gained over the years its very difficult to see them falling off, or “imploding” anytime soon. Maybe pigs will get fat, and maybe hogs will get slaughtered, but only time will tell if Mark Cuban and his belief that the NFL is headed for disaster is correct or not.
Commentary by Kalen Skalesky