After three seasons of the NFL scheduling games in London at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT and if you’re in Hawaii, 4:30 a.m., the league is considering pushing the start time back to a traditional 1 p.m. ET start. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news on ESPN.com.
One of the reasons for scheduling games at 9:30 a.m. ET was to create a new window for the NFL on Sundays adding to the existing 1 p.m., 4/4:25 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. start times. However, with lower ratings this season and talk of potential oversaturation with Thursday night games, the league is thinking that perhaps too much of a good thing might be bad.
In addition, the Rams which have regularly played in London in the past and played to a noon CT audience in St Louis, played there again this season, but to a 6:30 a.m. local time kickoff in Los Angeles.
Television ratings have fallen precipitously this season and while the NFL has mostly attributed the decrease to the presidential election, there is talk that too many windows have finally caught up to the league.
Last season, the league made the move to 9:30 a.m. ET official and continued this move in 2016, but after the NFL began to see lower numbers across the board for all of its windows, it appears officials are reconsidering the morning game.
But with the NFL hoping to expand to London with more games and perhaps a franchise down the road, the league has to consider what works and what doesn’t. If the league wants to start somewhere, it could look at the Thursday Night Football package, but that’s a discussion for another time.