Good Morning Football is on the move. The NFL Network morning show has been aired from CBS’s New York studios since its August 2016 launch, but will now be heading 12 blocks south to the NFL Experience in Times Square, which opened in December. The move will happen by the beginning of April. CBS was contractually obligated to host GMFB as part of their Thursday Night Football deals (alongside NBC) in 2016 and 2017, but no longer has to do that with Fox taking over TNF for the 2018-2022 period.
However, NFLN’s Mark Quenzel told Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand that the decision to move GMFB came before Fox won those rights:
“I’ve known since Christmas that I wanted to move the show, whether CBS got ‘Thursday Night Football’ or not,” said Mark Quenzel, a senior vice president at NFL Media. “This has nothing at all to do with ‘Thursday Night Football.’”
…“Our set will look out on the entire panorama of Times Square — it’s an amazing view,” Quenzel said. “All the energy in the background just reeks of New York.”
NFL Experience launched in December through a partnership between the NFL and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. Quenzel said that when the show launches, it will be a 15-hour-per-week marketing platform for the Experience.
GMFB features Kyle Brandt, Peter Schrager, Kay Adams, and Nate Burleson, and is produced by Michael Davies (of the Men In Blazers) and his Embassy Row company. It’s found significant success since its 2016 launch, and has made plenty of headlines here for its mix of sports, humor and pop culture, covering everything from Goldeneye to the Oscars to Star Wars, and providing trips back in time thanks to the NFL Films library.
The GMFB location is notable because it’s one of the few NFLN things not based out of the network’s headquarters in Culver City, CA or NFL Films headquarters in Mount Laurel Township, NJ. and because the New York location is a big part of what differentiates it from predecessor NFL AM (which was put on what turned out to be a permanent hiatus in 2015). NFL AM was produced in California, starting at 3 a.m. local (6 a.m. Eastern), while GMFB began at 7 a.m. Eastern and was produced in New York, so in the Eastern time zone.
“The network was ambitious with its former morning program, and part of that ambition was to do a live morning show from the West Coast,” said Jordan Levin, chief content officer, NFL Media. “There’s an energy to morning programming. The challenge is compounded when you have people who are literally doing the show in the middle of the night. You can feel and sense that morning energy is a little off. It isn’t connecting.”
It’s definitely easier to find that energy when you have people doing the show at 7 a.m. versus 3 a.m., and that makes it logical to do this on the East Coast rather than from network headquarters. And the opening of this Times Square NFL Experience provides NFLN with a logical place of their own to do this, rather than using the CBS studios, and gives them a chance to promote that experience on-air. It also opens the possibility of having a live studio audience; NFLN is reportedly considering that at the new location, but they won’t do that right at the start. In any case, it will be interesting to see how the new location affects the show, and if it eventually does wind up leading to that audience. It will be worth keeping an eye out to see if NFLN starts doing anything else from this NFL Experience location.