HammRadio Today: 04/18/2005

Are there chinks in the armor of the NFL?

The NFL in all of it's eternal wisdom has decided to eliminate EVENT programming and water down their product, by allowing their Marquee program, Monday Night Football to go the way of Curling and the XGames. You might argue, that Monday Night Football is so much a part of American Pop Culture, that people will easily pick it up on ESPN. Okay, let me explain something. There are still LESS households with Cable then there are with just TV. And just because you have cable, doesn't mean you have ESPN. Here in Philadelphia, the local ABC affiliate will carry the Eagles if they are playing on Sunday Night Football. Why would they do that? As a service to viewers who don't have cable!

Now despite the NFL leaking ratings on Monday Nights and ABC saying they were losing money, Monday Night Football is typically in the top 10 of the ratings overall! While they are not pulling CSI ratings, it's not like it's Becker either. Did ABC overpay? Perhaps. But are they really going to do better with the valuable 18-54 male demographic with another night of Extreme Makeover (Home Edition)?

Besides less people being able to watch the programs, Sunday Night Football on ESPN did not do NEARLY as well as Monday Night Football did. Now last year's Eagles-Dallas game posted an 11.6 Rating which equates to about 12.66 Million homes. Later in the season, the Eagles-Redskins Sunday night game, registered a 6.7 rating equating to about 7.36 million homes. And that was a good night for ESPN. End of the season games featuring Denver vs. Tennessee (Saturday) and Cleveland vs. Miami (Sunday) captured these respective audiences: 4.9, 5.35 million homes; 5.0, 5.46 million homes. Not quite Must See TV. However, we're talking about the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

This is a league where fans of the Arizona Cardinals can only see home games at Sun Devil Stadium (or Mexico!!!), because of the NFL Blackout policy. Their fascist policy extends into their cable package, where only DirectTV subscribers can get any game they want but Cable subscribers, must be forced to watch what the NFL (or local affiliates) tell them. The NFL believes that restricting their viewers increases their value. Yet, they go ahead and add games to the schedule on different day parts like Thursday or Saturday nights. And THAT doesn't water the product down???

The NFL is still the class of all the sports, but they don't have the stranglehold they once did. And certainly the hard core gamblers will find ESPN on the cable systems. But the NFL will have a hard time scratching the surface of an 8.0 rating, which will be a sad day for Michaels, Madden and Hank Williams.

Up in (Black) Smoke

First vote, didn't go so well, according to HammRadio sources placed inside the vatican, some of the Cardinals haven't been taking the job seriously on the first ballot. Our insiders have taken a look at the ballots and the usual subjects are there, like Ratzinger and Francis Arinze. But HammRadio is proud to reveal a some of the secret votes: Ryan Seacrest (4 votes), Baba Booey (1 vote), Arnold Schwarzenegger (2 votes), Eric Cartman (1 vote) and Dennis Kucinich (2 votes).


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