One Step Closer To Having NFL Every Night of the Week
NFL football may be more frequently happening on Fridays. The league traditionally does not play on this day in honor of the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 to avoid airing simultaneously as high school football.
But an NFL Friday games loophole has allowed the league to “experiment” with more Friday games, as we saw several take place in 2023. And in 2024, the opening week will feature a Friday game.
Friday Night Football Could Be A Thing Soon
The NFL plays the brunt of its games on Sunday, college football on Saturday, and high school football on Friday. This was the agreement for over 62 years now. But this could soon change thanks to an NFL Friday games “loophole” from the federal act.
According to the statute, the NFL cannot air “all or a substantial part” of pro football games on Fridays after 6 p.m. ET. This begins on the second Friday of September each year and extends until the second Saturday, December 1. The Black Friday game in 2023 aired during this span but did so during 3 p.m. ET.
And now, the 2024 NFL schedules expect a game to be played in Brazil on Friday, September 6. This now means the NFL has prime-time games scheduled on four days in its opening week from September 5, 6, 8, and 9.
“It’s an unusual approach, and different than we’ve ever done,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during his Super Bowl state-of-the-league press conference. “We think this is giving us the ability to access more fans not just in [the U.S.], but on a global basis.”
The NFL is now broadcasting games on five of the seven days of the week as they also air games on Saturdays late in December. This only leaves out Tuesday and Wednesday.
But given how the NFL has expanded the regular season and has a long list of broadcasters and streaming services looking to get their fingers on the proverbial pie, we won’t be shocked if we see a “Tuesday Night Football” shortly.
Thank Amazon and Black Friday
We would not be writing about this NFL Friday games “loophole” were it not for the smashing success of Amazon Prime Video’s Black Friday game that took place on November 24, 2023. Nielsen reports an average of 9.61 million viewers as the Miami Dolphins blew out the New York Jets 34-13. It was the most-watched game of the day.
While the ratings were a bit lower than some estimated, it speaks volumes that over 11 million people (at its peak) watched what was a lopsided game featuring a team that had a 4-6 record and an atrocious offense.
“Prime Video’s first Black Friday football game welcomed meaningful successes across Amazon’s many touchpoints with fans and customers,” said Jay Marine, VP and Global Head of Sports for Prime Video, in a statement.
While this was still the second-least watched game on Amazon Prime’s schedule, the ratings prove that viewers will watch an NFL football game on an unusual day, even if it had a so-so NFL matchup. Imagine a much more enticing game like how the NFL likes to load up Thanksgiving Day.