Cuban: NFL 10 years from imploding
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban predicted on Sunday that the NFL will suffer a decline because of greed and overexposure, then expanded on his comments Monday night.
"I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion," Cuban said before Sunday's game against the Brooklyn Nets. "I'm just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way.
"I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule number one of business."
Cuban said the league's television package expansion is a poor business decision. The NFL announced in February a one-year contract with CBS and NFL Network combining to televise Thursday night games. CBS, which won the bidding for Thursday night games over NBC, ABC, Fox and Turner, will air the games during the first eight weeks of the season, simulcasting them with the NFL Network. Then, the league's cable network will show six Thursday night games exclusively later in the season with CBS' top announcing team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the broadcast booth. The NFL Network will also air a Saturday doubleheader in Week 16.
From 2006 to '13, the NFL went from showing a limited number of Thursday night games per season to broadcasting 13 of them.
"They're trying to take over every night of TV," Cuban said. "Initially, it'll be, 'Yeah, they're the biggest-rating thing that there is.' OK, Thursday, that's great, regardless of whether it impacts (the NBA) during that period when we cross over. Then if it gets Saturday, now you're impacting colleges. Now it's on four days a week. ...
"It's all football. At some point, the people get sick of it."
Cuban compared the NFL's potential overexposure to the formerly popular game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which expanded from once a week to five days per week.
"They put it on every night," Cuban said. "Not 100 percent analogous, but they handled it the same. I'm just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered."
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones disagreed with Cuban's comments.
"I hope he's wrong this time," Jones said from the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I think a lot of Mark, but in this particular case, I hope he's in the wrong, not the right. I haven't talked to Mark as to why. I'd certainly like to hear it because Mark is a smart guy and he understands our sports business and I do have a ton of respect for him. At some point, I would like to know what he's seeing that we may not be seeing."
Jones said the NFL did plenty of homework before expanding the television package.
"We certainly do a lot of work as you know before we jump on these things," Jones said. "Certainly I can see why he might not say that, that we're getting too saturated. But I think we've done a lot of work to think that we're not."
On Monday night, Cuban elaborated on his opinion in a 1,585-word Facebook post.
This time Cuban focused on player safety and behavioral problems as issues that could affect youth participation and eventually threaten pro football's popularity.
"I wouldn't want my son playing football, would you?" Cuban wrote, according to ESPN.com. "I'm sure helmet technology will improve over the next 10 years, but why risk it? There are plenty of sports to play. Plenty of ways to get exercise and if my son decided to do anything outside of sports and never pick up any ball of any kind, I'm fine with that. I can think of 1k things I would prefer him to get excited about doing.
"As far as watching, I [am] good with that.
"I don't think I'm alone. If we start to see a decline of popularity at the high school and then college level because kids choose other sports, it will hurt the interest in watching the NFL."