Bulls & Bears: The NFL Giant Just Can’t Be Stopped

Opinion: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s vision of a $25 billion industry that’s nearly as big as the other three North American leagues combined is inching closer to reality.


bulls of the week

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The National Football League hasn’t even started its preseason exhibition schedule yet, which won’t start until Thursday when the Las Vegas Raiders host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Allegiant Stadium, but you can already feel the giant flexing his muscles and taking over the American landscape.

All you need to do is scan the social media, digital, radio and TV shows of all sports, especially south of the border, and you’ll know that demand is increasing for the new regular season; one that begins on September 8, the first Thursday after Labor Day weekend.

Across the pond, the Germans are welcoming the NFL. The site’s ticket traffic for the Nov. 13 game between the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers topped 770,000 concurrent users when tickets went on sale last week. That represents more than 10 times the number of tickets available at the Allianz Arena for the first game of the NFL regular season in Germany. Resale prices further reflected how attractive the ticket is, with the lowest price of admission at $750.

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A week after media analysts noted that the NFL crossed the $11 billion threshold in domestic revenue, mostly national television rights, the NFL made it official that it will go direct-to-consumer with another source of revenue. , its own streaming service. NFL+ will be online in 2023, with a projected monthly subscription fee of $4.99. By then, fans will have had plenty to sample as Thursday Night Football moves entirely and exclusively to the Amazon Prime video streaming platform starting this fall.

Add it all up and the NFL is close to becoming the first $20 billion league in the world. It’s not far from commissioner Roger Goodell’s nirvana: a $25 billion industry that’s almost as big as the other three major North American leagues combined.

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bears of the week

It’s been a sobering two weeks for the Calgary Flames in particular and Canadian National Hockey League teams in general.

Between recently deceased free agent Johnny Gaudreau (signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets) and Matthew Tkachuk (traded to the Florida Panthers), the Flames will need to recover 82 goals from their 2021-22 lineup. That won’t be easy as the Flames and the other six Canadian-based NHL franchises assess their seemingly diminishing prospects when it comes to free agents, especially US-born free agents who seem averse to play in Canada.

The news from Calgary in the last two weeks has only added salt to the wound created by the soon-to-be 30-year drought since 1993, the last time a Canadian-based team won a Stanley Cup.

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Despite trends that appear to be working against Canadian-based NHL franchises, there was no organization more bearish in North American sports last week than Hockey Canada, the national governing body that continues to reel from the fallout from a secret financial settlement of sexual assault allegations by members of the country’s IIHF junior under-20 world team in 2018. Over the past month, Hockey Canada has been feeling pressure from the federal government, corporate sponsors and investigators police. It hit Parliament buildings in Ottawa as hearings with Hockey Canada officials again dominated the news cycles this week.

Sports business commentator and marketing communications executive Tom Mayenknecht is a director of Emblematica Brand Builders and host of The Sport Market on BNN Bloomberg Radio 1410 and TSN Radio nationally. Follow Mayenknecht on: twitter.com/TheSportMarket

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