Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise and reality TV personality, had some not-so-kind words for the National Football League, which he predicts will be “slaughtered” in 10 years, thanks to the league’s own “greed.”
Cuban spoke to reporters before Sunday night’s Mavericks game against the Brooklyn Nets. The 55-year-old entrepreneur has never been shy about offering his opinion about pretty much any topic, so when he was asked, for some reason, about the new NFL deal to move eight of its Thursday Night Football games off of its own cable outlet, NFL Network, and on to CBS, Cuban had a few things to say.
In short, Mark Cuban believes the NFL is overextending, or perhaps overindulging itself and the popularity of pro football will take a beating as a result.
“Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way,” Cuban said. “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 No. 1 of business.”
Mark Cuban predicted that “the NFL is 10 years away from implosion,” and that overexposure on television will cause fans to lose interest.
Last year, the NFL Thursday Night Football games were the most popular show on cable TV, averaging 8.6 million viewers despite the fact that the NFL Network is usually located on the high-numbered end of the channel guide on most cable systems, tucked away among the specialized, least-viewed channels.
With the jump to CBS, those Thursday night numbers are certain to spike dramatically, a fact of which Mark Cuban is aware. But he says that in the long term the novelty will wear off.
If we wake up 1 morning to find 1 program dominating 5 nights of Primetime TV,non NFL fans will question why they pay for TV if its all NFL
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 24, 2014
“They’re trying to take over every night of TV. And initially, it’ll be the biggest rating thing there is. Then, if they get Saturday, now they’re impacting college,” Cuban speculated. “And then if they go to Wednesday, at some point, people get sick of it.”
Mark Cuban made his initial fortune when Yahoo! purchased his fledging internet radio site Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion in 1999, the height of the so-called dot-com bubble. He now has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. But he owns a franchise in a league whose teams play between two and four games per week, all of them televised.
In fact, no professional sports league plays as infrequently as the NFL, with only 16 regular season games per team, and regular TV games confined to Sunday, Monday and Thursday.
The NFL doesn’t seem worried, however.
“Certainly I can see why he might not say that, that we’re getting too saturated,” said Dallas Cowboys executive Stephen Jones, when told of the Mark Cuban predictions. “But I think we’ve done a lot of work to think that we’re not.”