Contractually obligated: Time to change NFL cutting away from end of games

11/04/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak



You just finished watching your home NFL team play at 1pm. You've been watching the score of another game and see the score is still tied with time remaining after your team's game is over. CBS or Fox cuts to that game. One team is driving for the game winning score. And then it cuts back to the studio where you're told that "due to contractual obligations" they have to leave live coverage of that game.
So instead of actually watching the exciting ending of that game that's going down to the wire, you can watch the studio hosts talk about what's going on. Yeah, that's right. Instead of being able to actually watch the end of the game, you get to watch the studio hosts give you a play by play of what they're watching in the game you just were, but you can't actually watch it because of these "contractual obligations".
I understand the obligation to show the game of the team designated to that television market. If you live in Pittsburgh and the Steelers play at 4pm, you're getting switched to that game. And that's understandable since that is the team's market and local advertising is directed to the home team's game. It's also per NFL policy that no other game can compete with a sold out home game in a team's designated home market. Even if you're in a fringe market that doesn't have a team, for example Los Angeles is designated as San Diego's home market, you get switched to that team's game. Again, I can understand the reasoning for that based on what was stated above.

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But why is it that when your home team's game or the game in your market ends, these obligations prevent you from watching the end of another game? How is it a good idea to cut away from the end of a game between non home market teams? Because contractual obligations require that a designated national or regional game on the opposite network doesn't have another game running against it? If it's the only other game televised in the local market, fans are going to switch to it upon the finish of the game they were watching. Why does the NFL feel that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman's pre game banter and some lame sideline interview with a coach who isn't really interested in giving that pre game interview is necessary to be seen by everybody?
I think it's time the NFL gets with the times on this. Cutting away from games because of these outdated contractual obligations is ridiculous. Especially since NFL Red Zone and NFL Sunday Ticket are available everywhere. Obviously the NFL wants to sell those products. So they would want more viewers to watch on them. Which means as soon as the NFL cuts away from a game due to contractual obligations, what do you think anyone with Red Zone or Sunday Ticket are doing? They're switching to the end of the game they were watching.
So since technology and programming pretty much guarantees that anyone watching a game where contractual obligations prevent viewers from seeing the end of it, don't you think the NFL should be obligated to get their outdated obligations updated?

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