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NFL Viewing in 1973 vs NOW, why less games now on cable? (1 Viewer)


Because of where I was located in  Ky in 1973 I just realized that on October 21st 1973  I could see more games on Sunday than I can see now if I don't have the NFL Sunday Ticket.  I could see AFC games on WATE NBC in Knoxville at 1 pm ET and 4 pm ET,  I could see AFC games on WCYB NBC in Bristol TN at 1 pm ET and 4 pm ET,  I could see AFC games on WLEX NBC in Lexington, Ky at 1 pm ET,  I could NFC games on WKYT CBS  in Lexington, Ky at 1 pm ET and 4 pm ET, i  could see NFC games on WBIR  CBS  in Knoxville, TN at 1 pm ET and 4 pm ET  and I believe it was WAVE NBC games in Louisville, Ky  I could sometimes see an AFC game.   LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

Now some of these affiliates have switched networks, or are no longer in existence.

No doubt I could always see 4 distinct games all the time,  5 distinct games most of the time, and sometimes 6 distinct games some of the time on Sunday alone.  Then there is the Monday night game.  If you don't have NFL Sunday ticket that was more games in 1973 than today including the Thursday night and Sunday night games.   Isn't that odd?

I thought it was very interesting comparing the number of games I could see 46 years ago compared to today if we're talking about cable only.

I realize that I was in a special location for seeing games compared to certain locations.  I had the luxury of the Lexington, Knoxville, Louisville, and Bristol markets at the time.  Pretty special indeed and I didn't realize it at the time.

Of course now there is NFL Sunday Ticket....., so it's moot.

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TV contracts back then probably didn't exclusivity rights to geographical areas for certain teams. They could see what their affiliate is showing and run a different game without penalty. Plus most areas don't have access to multiple NBC, CBS etc. Usually if there is more than one, they follow the same rules nowadays. 

I think that it is somewhat random, but probably through antennas you still might be able to get a variety of games.  Here is the week 10 map from this year.  In SW KY, you may have been able to grab 3 early CBS games,  maybe both late CBS games (stretch) and at least 3 (maybe 4 as a stretch) Fox games.

Yes, location, location, location.  I just found it odd that 46 years later and as popular as the NFL is, you would think more games would be shown on cable, but I guess it hasn't changed at all in those 40+ years.  Thankfully we have NFL Sunday Ticket and the Red Zone channel now.

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pre-cable, in Detroit we would get Canadian TV, plus a handful of Toledo Ohio stations, generally the browns or their division were carried by those affiliates.

once we went to cable, Canada and Ohio channels were not picked up

The answer to the original question is almost certainly “promote sales of Sunday Ticket.”

When that tech wasn’t available, the NFL got more value out of maximizing exposure to games so that viewers could find a “good” one more easily.  Now “bad games” are a marketing vehicle for the Ticket.

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Vacationing in Turks and Caicos there were 4 1pm games on TV and 3 4pm games to go along with Sunday night. It was raining that day so I got a pass from the wife. While i am on abroad subject we lived in mexico for a couple years, during commercial breaks instead of geico commercials they run swimsuit shoots for team cheerleaders. Sometimes I think we have it all wrong here in the states. 

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You were lucky Johnny.  I lived in eastern Tennessee and we would get one game (cable didn't exist there).  It would either be a crappy Atlanta team or the ####### Cowboys.  And if a game ran long, Hee-Haw was coming on regardless.  On the bright side, we did get the Notre Dame highlight show every Sunday and I think they ran that multiple times.  Absolutely lived for the Monday Nite game and getting to see good teams play.


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