The four and a half month old NFL lockout is over.
A few people have e-mailed asking why I haven’t posted about the NFL lockout ending since it has such huge impact to the TV landscape. Mostly it’s because it never seemed in doubt that a deal would get done. The NFL season never struck me as being in any jeopardy. I’m a huge fan, but I was never worried that I’d miss any football. From my TV viewing perspective, the biggest casualty of the lockout is that there won’t be an edition of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ this year. And ok, so maybe I’m a little disappointed there is no days/minutes/hours counter on the NFL Red Zone channel’s bumper yet. Otherwise, it was a very different situation with the NFL, which was just trying to redivide a very huge pie than it is with the NBA where the 2011-12 season seems very much in jeopardy.
Most of the e-mail I got focused on how relieved NBC must be. I find it nonsensical to single out NBC. Sure, NBC’s primetime ratings would’ve been dramatically impacted without Sunday Night Football. But so would ESPN’s primetime ratings with Monday Night Football. Despite not airing games in primetime, it was perhaps even a bigger deal for CBS and Fox whose daytime games in the aggregate draw in more viewers than NBC’s Sunday night games. Those day games are huge sources of revenue, and huge promotional opportunities for Fox and CBS. Plus the late afternoon national games, particularly when there is overrun, impact primetime ratings too.
All the networks that carry NFL games are relieved, not just NBC. But yes, I am definitely ready for some football.