NFL Eyes Expansion Of Regular Season And Global Audience
ational Football Leauge (NFL) owners are expected to vote this week on expanding the regular season schedule to 17 games per team, increased from the existing 16.
Discussion around an extra game has increased leading into the 2021 season, particularly with the recent signing of a 10-year labour deal with the NFL Players Association.
The new collective bargaining agreement allowed owners to expand the regular season from 2021, despite calls from players to abandon it.
SportBusiness reports NFL preseason will be shortened in order to fit the 17th game, to played against a non-conference opponent and determined partly by placing from the prior season.
The Superbowl could also potentially be moved back by a week.
Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Art Rooney II, said the expansion is a positive.
“Obviously, this year will be the first year for it, so we’ll get a chance to see how it goes,” Rooney II said.
“I think we’ll reduce the preseason by one game.
“It will be a similar kind of schedule just in terms of the calendar, but we’ll just turn one of the preseason games into a regular-season game, which I think all of us would appreciate.
“I feel good about it, I hope it works, and I look forward to seeing how it does in 2021,” he said.
Meanwhile, NFL players have vented their frustrations with the plans on social media, with former Colts defensive back, Darius Butler, saying profit is being valued over player safety.
Players gonna end up getting more money too. I just don’t think that trade off is worth it. 💰 > Player safety. Forever and always!
— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) March 28, 2021
The NFL is also considering expanding their league’s global reach by introducing overseas ‘home’ games for teams.
Sports Business Journal reports teams will be required to play one home game outside the United States at least once every eight years.
These games would be designated on a rotating basis, with four teams playing abroad each season.
Some teams are also willing to play games internationally more often, including the Jacksonville Jaguars who have committed to playing a home game in London every year.