Don't expect any more early-morning kickoffs from London beginning next season. After three London games kicking off at 9:30 a.m. ET this season, the NFL is reportedly set to do away with the brunch-time kickoffs for American audiences.
On the heels of a report recently about the league changing kickoff times, Joe Flint of the Wall Street Journal advances things by reporting Tuesday the league plans to lump the London games in with the rest of the 1 p.m. ET NFL games.
[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.
The issue with 9:30 a.m. ET games is you're losing a quarter of the country, because of how early the game starts. There are also plenty of people on the East Coast unable to watch football that early for various reasons.
This season, three games -- Jaguars-Colts in Week 4, Giants-Rams in Week 7 and Bengals-Redskins in Week 8 -- all featured brunch-y kickoffs for the NFL, but those time slots are likely to disappear.
The 1 p.m. ET games aren't as singularly exciting for London purposes, but there have been enough international games to make them not worth singling out at this point.
It just makes more sense to run the London games at the same time and to limit the amount of exposure for the league in various windows. People love football, but there is only so much football that can be watched in the average week by the consumer.
The NFL's potential change reflects the reality of the ratings this year when it comes to substantial viewing windows.