So Troy Aikman was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago and he was there talking at a large public forum about the possible return of the NFL to Los Angeles – you do these public speaking engagements when you’re a public figure and they invite you out and throw some money at you to stand up in front of people and to talk, Troy Aikman is a very sharp guy, he’s a star, he’s one of the sharpest guys to play quarterback and he’s had a great broadcasting career because he’s a really really smart guy. Often a lot of the knuckle heads and the meat heads who play in the NFL, they don’t understand – mostly defensive guys, they don’t get the big picture of football and Troy Aikman does.
He was saying how he doesn’t think the NFL is going to be number 1 forever and how MLB use to be number 1 and it’s no longer number 1. So he talked about something that is very very smart, he said at one point that bottom line, he has a son. He wouldn’t tell his son that he can’t play football but he’s not sure if he’d encourage him to play it with all the violence. Nothing smarter and truer has ever been said about the NFL. Like we all want our kids to be active but the minute moms don’t want their kids to play football because of concussions, spinal surgeries and spinal issues, I’ve got news for you folks! 15 years later the quality of talent erodes. That is a very smart thing to say and that is why Roger Goodell is deeply concerned about concussions, spinal injuries and head shots whereas the typical meat head fan will be like “yeah!!! What?? Have you got a dress on?” Mr. Goodell sees that if you start having lawsuits and spinal injuries, moms don’t let their sons play football and 15 years from now, football is smaller and slower.
Now, I don’t think the NFL will lose its number 1 ranking, at least during my adult life, perhaps when I’m 90 and we invent something new because I believe that football has 3 main advantages over baseball. Firstly, the NFL is built for television because it fits perfectly into the small box. If you look at the rise of televisions in Canada and the U.S. it parallels the rise in the popularity of the NFL. When newspapers ran the American media, baseball was bigger. All of a sudden, televisions are becoming a common product in the average household and you look at every decade, our love for football…it works perfectly inside that small box! The field is even rectangle to better accommodate it than the diamond like shape for baseball. Secondly, technology has increased the speed of life. The tempo of North American society is much faster than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Once you introduce any technology to any marketplace, you just don’t go backwards. Even the Unabomber said that in his manifesto, it was the only thing that he said that made any sense. He said once you introduce technology to a marketplace – and you can capitalize on it and make money, nobody is getting rid of it. So be very careful with what you decide to introduce, technology wise, to the market because it doesn’t go backwards. Football fits the pace of our society while baseball is innately a sport of slow tempos and no clock.
Football is perfect with one game a week at 1pm EST Sundays, fit’s our temp, we’re sped up. By the way, you show the play, you got to 2 replays, by the time you get back to live action they break the huddle, next play! 13-15 minutes of pure football per afternoon. But yet the television product is built for the play, 2 replays and then back to the play – no downtime anywhere. Thirdly, the thing that football has that baseball doesn’t is that we bet football, don’t kid yourself! Now, primarily in the U.S., they’ve always had betting, but they are now so much more of a gambling country. Schools in the U.S. are built by state lotteries, which some people have issues with; I don’t have anything against that. I am pro gambling, we do it, you do it, and I do it! I don’t know why anybody would be afraid of it. $10 billion was bet on the Superbowl, 1% of that was in Vegas. So get over it, we gamble, it’s our society, they do it in Europe, Asia, Latin America, they do it everywhere. But the other thing about this – in reference to Tory Aikman and I think he’s wrong, I love Troy Aikman but he doesn’t think that the NFL will be #1. One of the things about the NFL – and I’m just going to say something and your probably not going to believe it, but there is absolute proof. Is that baseball’s popularity was overstated in the 60’s and 70’s because newspapers ran the American media and they had a link to baseball. They had a built in back page, you had to go to a newspaper to get the boxscore. So you had to buy a newspaper in order to find out how your team was doing because all the games were not televised.
Once cable television, regional networks came into the picture, all of a sudden the games are on television and you don’t need a newspaper for your boxscores. Hall of fame baseball voters are all newspaper guys. Bob Costas doesn’t have a vote, some guy in Lowell, Mass at a tiny newspaper has got a vote. Baseball needed newspapers, newspapers needed baseball and the American newspaper overstated the popularity of baseball. Think I’m wrong? I take you to the Harris survey, which is a non-bias look at the history of politics and sports. In 1972, 63% of people said that they’re a football fan, 60% said they were baseball fans. The NFL was more popular in the 70’s. In 1969, football had 52%, baseball 47%. We overstated how big baseball was in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s football had long surpassed MLB – by the mid 80’s,televisions had increased dramatically in both Canada and the U.S. and in the early 90’s, football blows baseball out of the water. Never forget this, if sports were the stock market – I’ll tell you something right now, the sport that is absolutely a $9 dollar stock right now and it will be an Apple type stock in 25 years is soccer. I’ve researched and found 38 metrics that tell me why. Did you know that in the 70’s, the sport of boating beat soccer, this year though, soccer is now more popular that college basketball – for about 9 reasons. Every major network in the U.S. and Canada is battling to get soccer. NBC Sports Network – the new network, they would die to get soccer! They’ve got Notre Dame Football…but they want soccer! They’ve got boating…but they want soccer! They’ve got rugby…but they want soccer! They’ve got the Bob Costas show…but they want soccer! Soccer is a growth stock!