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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

NFL sacks idea of moving Super Bowl to Saturday

January 29, 2010
KEYWORDS Sports Business

There has been increasing rumbling recently about moving the Super Bowl to Saturday night. And there’s good reason for the discussion.

Absenteeism in Indianapolis and New Orleans schools the Monday following this year’s Super Bowl Sunday is expected to be far above average. New Orleans school officials said so many students missed school after the NFC Championship game (which was the late game), they are considering cancelling school Feb. 8—the day after the Saints clash with the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. A handful of Indianapolis schools are planning likewise, though the major school systems will be open for business.

Work places too have increased absenteeism and decreased productivity the day after the Super Bowl, which is the most watched sporting event of the year in the U.S.
 
It’s a problem that extends beyond the two cities whose teams are involved and the host city.

The Super Bowl has become a national sporting holiday, with more than 100 million television viewers watching. In New Orleans and Indianapolis, more than 80 percent of households with TVs are expected to tune in.
 
With the Super Bowl moved from early afternoon in the 1960s through the early part of the 1980s to about 6:30 p.m., eastern time now, that keeps a lot of folks up past their bedtime. The celebrating fans of the winning team are up way past their normal appointment with the sandman.

The subject of moving the Super Bowl to Saturday has come up among NFL officials, but is not being seriously considered. And there’s a simple reason for that. A Sunday game maximizes corporate hospitality, and that’s good for sponsors and the host city—and in affect the NFL itself. It gives the NFL a chance to remain in the spotlight for one more day, and that’s good for the league and its sponsors. It’s also good for the many media outlets covering the game, who produce lots of special programming, which generates lots of cash through advertising.

Moving the game up by 24 hours, essentially lops one-seventh off the lucrative Super Bowl week, and the NFL isn’t about to do that. Sponsors don’t want it, host cities don’t want it, broadcasters and other media outlets don’t want it, so it’s not going to happen.
 
The move, simply put, would leave tens of millions of dollars on the table for the NFL and its corporate partners.
 
And that trumps what fans want every time.
 

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