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NFL Lobbying Congress

Gearing up for the culmination of the 2009-2010 season, the NFL is also getting ready for another battle, but it’s not the issue about the uncapped season.  The NFL is trying to lobby Congress to pass a bill that would bring (via satellite) network signals to rural areas that are blacked out or don’t receive programming from their local station.  While the bill is awaiting action by the Senate, this has huge ramifications.  The league has paid out exorbitant amounts of money in the last years to lobbyists.  And we’re not talking thousands, we’re talking millions.  Not many businesses can shell out millions of dollars to Congressional lobbyists.

The numbers don’t lie–the ratings for the 2009 Super Bowl were higher than the World Series, the NBA Finals and hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals combined.  Combined.  With DirecTV’s Sunday package and the recent success of the NFL Network, there is more desire to showcase America’s new favorite pasttime.  However, both DirecTV and NFL Network are not available through regular cable networks.  If Congress passes the bill and allows the NFL to control all broadcasts, then it will essentially be like pay-per-view.  Imagine if the 2010 Super Bowl was a PPV event.  I know I would pay $20 to watch it and so would millions of other people.  It would potentially be the largest rake in television history.

This might be a great time for the NFL to make this push.  With the talk that there could be a lockout in 2011, the NFL is trying to keep itself fresh while also reposition itself in relation to the television networks.  Sure CBS and Fox do a great job of bringing us the games, but the NFL wants to control what it shows and when it shows it.  They want to be in control of their game.  Thus, even though they might shell out ridiculous amounts of money, in the long run, a million dollars will seem like a fool-proof return on investment.

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