It’s nice when your voice is heard. When you complain how you kid’s rooms are messy, and they clean them - that’s nice. When you complain to your spouse about leaving a toilet seat up, and they start putting it down - that’s nice. When you complain to your boss about being underpaid, and you get a raise - well, that’s pretty nice too. Also, when you write an article grumbling about the absurdly early start of NFL games in London, and a month later news breaks that the NFL is considering pushing back the start times of international games - well, that’s also nice.
Ok, so maybe the NFL’s decision was not in response to my thoughts, but who knows, maybe it was? Regardless, this is good news for NFL fans in the United States.
Per The Wall Street Journal, the NFL could be moving the start time of all London games to 1 p.m. Eastern Time, the time at which most of the Sunday games typically begin.
[T]he league is planning some changes for Sunday with regards to broadcasts of games that are played in London. Currently, those games air early in the morning and the ratings have been tiny. Starting next season, games played in London will air in the afternoon in the United States along with the rest of the games, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
During Week 8, the Bengals played against the Redskins in London, in what was a 9:30 ET start. For various reasons, a 9:30 a.m. start presents an issue for many viewers who otherwise have other plans on Sunday morning. And it’s even worse on the west coast, as west coast fans were faced with a 6:30 a.m. start time.
There were three games this year that featured early starts because they were played in London:
The have been rumors that the NFL would like to be in a position to place a franchise in London in the next four or five years. It would remain to be seen if such a plan were to be enacted, when those games would start. But for the present time, it is only American-based teams playing in London, so it’s great news that the American-based fans will be able to watch their team play without making extraordinary plans to accommodate the NFL’s absurdly early start time for these games.
There are also reports that the NFL will add a fourth game to the London slate in 2017. And, this week, it became known that the Ravens are in consideration to play an away game, against the Jaguars, in London next season.