The University of Maryland canceled its last football game of the regular season on Thursday after more than a dozen UMD players tested positive for COVID-19. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday against Michigan State, may not be Maryland’s last of the season if the team decides to compete in the postseason. Six members of the Terrapins’ coaching staff also tested positive, according to the school.
Training camps are set to open on July 28 — and there still isn’t a concrete plan for if and how the season will work in 2020. Above, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady, far right, is seen along with other players during a private workout in Tampa, Fla., on June 23.
The Washington Redskins intend to announce on Monday that the team will retire its name, two sources said. The move comes 11 days after stadium naming-rights sponsor FedEx’s public statement asking for a change to the controversial moniker. The new name will not be announced immediately because trademark issues are pending, the sources said, but insiders were told today that the “thorough review” announced July 3 has concluded. The team felt it was important to remove any doubts as to the future of the name, one source said.
While there remains plenty of optimism the NFL will play — somehow, someway — networks are fixated on the league’s fall schedule given its dominant position as America’s most valuable television property that accounted for 41 of the 50 top-rated telecasts of any kind in 2019. The lack of certainty has led to uncomfortable conversations among executives.
The group’s stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, and Bakersfield, Calif., become the “Official Home of Raiders’ Football” in their markets.
As the bankrupt XFL looks for a buyer, the buyer could be its founder. XFL creditors “seem to believe” McMahon is positioning to buy the league out of bankruptcy. Separately, XFL President Jeffrey Pollack has contacted stadiums in Seattle and St. Louis about reinstating the league’s lease agreements.
“I can’t think of a single player move ever that adjusted requests and turned the process upside down as much as this,” said Fox Sports SVP Michael Mulvihill about Brady signing with Tampa Bay. “I think the league treated everyone well with Tampa Bay because they knew how great everyone’s interest was. It was a significant curveball.”
The NFL and Amazon have inked a multi-year extension to their Thursday Night Football deal, which sees the digital giant stream 11 games throughout the season. First signed back in 2017 and extended in 2018, the agreement sees Amazon show the games on digital via Prime Video and Twitch, with Fox retaining broadcast (plus showing in Spanish on Fox Deportes) and NFL Network handling cable.
The XFL is suspending operations effective immediately, a month after the spring football league stopped play due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league, owned by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, currently has no plans to start up again 2021.
“The XFL has a good chance to become a small, viable opportunity for clients based on its WWE ownership backing,” says Adam Schwartz of Horizon Media. “I don’t think the XFL will ever become the NFL, but if the product is strong, it will get viewers to watch and, perhaps, to gamble on the games [and] that will draw more viewer interest.”
“Television has been the best marketing tool that we’ve had,” said Joe Browne, who was a league executive for 50 years before retiring in 2016. NBC Sunday Night Football announcer Al Michaels said a huge reason for the league’s popularity on television is because it is the best-suited sport for it. “You have this burst of action and then there is inaction that can be covered by analyzing the play and covering it on replay,” he said. Here are some of the major events that have shaped the NFL and television.
With all NFL games being shown on national networks rather than solely on local channels, the most memorable voices of football are universal. Here’s a look at some of the most important and memorable voices of professional football.
Everyone’s got a theory on why the long-dominant football league has seen a precipitous decline in viewership this fall. The truth is, it’s no single thing. It’s a combination.
As pro football continues to score viewership touchdowns — routinely topping an average of 18 million viewers for the regular season alone, its appeal seems to be far-reaching and trending toward ubiquitous. The hard-hitting action and on-field heroics have also had a strong multicultural impact — especially among Hispanic viewers, who, according to Nielsen third-quarter Total Audience Report, spend an average of nearly 110 hours per month tuning in to live and time-shifted TV and represent more than $1 trillion in spending power.
Competition among NFL pregame shows will ramp up this fall as Fox plans to start its broadcast coverage an hour earlier. The Fox NFL Kickoff studio show will move from Fox Sports 1 to Fox, where it will lead into the network’s highly rated Fox NFL Sunday. Fox affiliates have been asked to clear an extra hour on Sunday mornings so that Fox’s NFL programming can start at 11 a.m. ET.
The NFL on Fox has never been bigger than this season, with the network enjoying its most-watched campaign in the 20 years since it began televising the league in 1994. With Nielsen data in for Week 17 action on Sunday, including the pivotal Green Bay-Chicago matchup, the NFL on Fox averaged 21.2 million viewers for the 2013 season — up 8% from 2012 (19.7 million) and surpassing 2010 (20.11 million), which had been the previous best for the network.
The Gannett Denver NBC affiliate is kicking off the NFL season — today’s Broncos Day — with day-long coverage culminating in tonight’s Broncos-Ravens matchup. Coverage began today at 4:30 a.m. and will run in various formats through tonight’s game and into its late news. The station is relying on two microwave trucks and bonded cellular gear throughout the day for the remote broadcasts. It’s also got a large social media element and is airing more coverage on co-owned KTVD.
Hearst’s Boston ABC affiliate WCVB will simulcast the NFL Network’s primetime New England Patriots vs. New York Jets game on Thursday, Sept. 12. SportsCenter 5’s Pre-Game Report, with WCVB’s sports anchor Mike Lynch and reporter Mike Dowling, begins at 8 p.m. and will be telecast live from Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. in Foxboro, with WCVB’s latenight newscast providing a post-game report immediately following the game.