Recently the NFL has added a wrinkle to their annual odyssey to London – early morning kickoffs. Instead of playing the games from London at 1 PM ET and 6 PM local time, the NFL has moved games to a 2:30 PM London start and a bright and early 9:30 AM ET start time.
The decision has certainly raised eyebrows as it has provided the NFL with over 14 consecutive hours of live football action on Sundays. For even the hardest of hardcore football fans, that might be the point where enough is enough. And when one of those kickoffs included the Los Angeles Rams (making it a 6:30 AM PT start time) it reached the point of being way too detrimental for fans back home.
Last fall there was a report that the NFL was going to eliminate the early morning London kickoff because of some of these concerns, but that does not appear to be the case. At least for one of the games. The NFL’s UK Twitter account revealed that the Saints-Dolphins game from Wembley will again be an afternoon kickoff from England and an early morning start for fans stateside.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) April 10, 2017
This is… not great news for fans of the Saints or Dolphins. To hear that your team is playing one of your sixteen games at 9:30 AM or 8:30 AM on Sunday morning feels like you lost the NFL lottery. Oh, and that’s on top of one of these teams losing one of their eight home games to begin with.
Let’s be honest, the NFL has been faced with an over-saturation issue. That’s one of the many reasons why ratings saw a decline last season. Not only are there too many games on at too many times, but last year showed that the early morning kickoffs hurt the various network pregame shows as well. Nevertheless, the NFL is persisting, because nothing will stop them in their quest to have games televised for every single possible hour of every single possible day during the fall. Just wait until the 3:30 AM ET kickoff live from Beijing.