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The NFL has a big advantage over MLB in its schedule. What would happen if MLB adopted this advantage for itself?

If there's anything I learned from my Twitter feed this weekend, it's that the football season is now underway. Apparently, we're actually in the second week of the NFL season, with the season having begun ten days ago with a Saints/Packers matchup in Green Bay. Who knew?

I'm being facetious, of course, but it is true that the start of the NFL season barely registers on my radar each year. Instead, I tend to be more focused on the various playoff races going on in Major League Baseball at the time. This year, for example, it's Boston's potential collapse under the pressure of a late-season surge by Tampa Bay and the Milwaukee/Arizona battle for the second-best record in the NL that has me ignoring the games on the gridiron. Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Justin Verlander, Curtis Granderson, Jose Bautista, Dan Uggla and a thousand other players/teams/storylines also help.

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June 10, 2010 7:39 pm

Squawking Baseball: The American Needle Fallout

10

Shawn Hoffman

The outcome of a lawsuit filed against the NFL could have ramifications for MLB.

It’s been a pretty long road for American Needle Inc. in its lawsuit against the NFL (and NFL Properties, and Reebok), and while it’s not over yet, things are looking up. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court rejected the NFL’s argument that the 32 teams needed to act as a single entity when it came to licensing its trademarks to apparel makers, saying that the teams could only act in concert when it was absolutely necessary to promote football games (which obviously involve more than one franchise). The case now goes back to the lower courts, where the NFL will have to prove that giving Reebok exclusive rights to produce official merchandise wasn’t an unreasonable restraint of trade—without their “single entity” defense.

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March 25, 2010 5:47 am

Squawking Baseball: How the NFL is Destroying MLB Mobile

6

Shawn Hoffman

MLB's mobile technology is as good or better than the NFL's, but generates far less revenue.

I started touching on this a bit a couple weeks ago in my MLB At Bat review, and at my blog: as good as MLBAM's technology is, and as amazing as At Bat is in a number of ways, MLB is, by all appearances, getting its butt kicked in mobile by the NFL. Yes, the stodgy old NFL, with almost no official presence on the iPhone, is killing MLB—makers of one of the most popular and celebrated mobile apps in the world right now—in the mobile content business.

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July 29, 2009 11:57 am

The Biz Beat: Seeing Everything?

16

Shawn Hoffman

Two leagues, and two massively different approaches to streaming.

In a lot of ways, MLB Advanced Media really gets it. Their marketing strategy needs a major overhaul-they're trying to be a portal in a post-portal world, and it's grossly limiting their earning potential-but their technology is best-in-breed, and they really seem to understand that sports games will eventually be broadcast and distributed by the leagues themselves, not third-party networks. And why not? Once internet-enabled televisions and super-high-speed broadband become commonplace, cable networks will start being phased out, and MLB Extra Innings will become unnecessary. MLB can just cut out the middle man and make MLB.tv its primary method of distributing baseball games-on your television, computer, or mobile phone.

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May 21, 2009 11:28 am

The Biz Beat: Conceiving a New Contract

11

Shawn Hoffman

What MLB can learn from the NFL's labor pains.

For decades, the NFL has been considered the model pro sports league, thanks to a system that promotes fiscal parity and, as a result, strong competitive balance between small- and large-market teams. The league has consistently won enormous national media contracts, which have allowed all 32 teams to be profitable, almost regardless of how many tickets or sponsorships they sell. Add in some local revenue sharing and a narrow payroll cap/floor system, and the result is a socialistic system that has kept everyone happy, at least on the surface.

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When it comes to questions of morality, does MLB have anything to apologize for relative to the NFL?

The unfortunate reality-both now and throughout recent decades-is that football as the NFL practices it is the most popular sport in the United States. There's no accounting for taste, of course, but this fact nonetheless speaks ill of our ability as a people to make sensible choices as consumers. Subjectively, as a nation it's a matter of our favoring a sport that's far less entertaining and compelling than what MLB offers us; objectively-and more importantly-it's a case of our favoring a sport that's morally bankrupt in comparison to leagues of similar aims and dimensions.

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March 12, 2007 12:00 am

The Ledger Domain: Not a Done Deal...Yet

0

Maury Brown

In a canny move, MLB puts the onus on cable companies to match the DirecTV offer.

"In response to those concerns of our fans, baseball has negotiated with DirecTV to offer the package to the incumbents," Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy said at the announcement last Thursday. "I hope that those fans who have been directing their concerns to us over the last several weeks will now encourage their cable carriers to in fact enlist for this package."

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August 31, 2005 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: The No-Fun League

0

Dayn Perry

Dayn's trip to an NFL preseason game left him with more questions than answers about football's popularity compared to baseball.

For the last several years it's been neither novel nor subversive to suggest that football has replaced baseball as the national pastime. What's more interesting is the popularity gap that's developing between the NFL and, well, everything else. I recently had lunch with a prominent sports editor, and he opined that forthcoming coverage in the mainstream sports media is going to reflect this divide: "There's the NFL," he said, "and all the other sports occupy lower tiers."

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Early last week, ESPN.com published a column by Jayson Stark that proposed 20 rules changes for MLB, ranging from the cosmetic ("Toughen up the save rule") to the crazed ("But add the designated fielder"). Now, I'm not going to talk in particular about Stark's column today, except to say that I think many of his suggestions sound good until you give serious consideration to how they would affect the way the game is played.

Early last week, ESPN.com published a column by Jayson Stark that proposed 20 rules changes for MLB, ranging from the cosmetic ("Toughen up the save rule") to the crazed ("But add the designated fielder"). Now, I'm not going to talk in particular about Stark's column today, except to say that I think many of his suggestions sound good until you give serious consideration to how they would affect the way the game is played.

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March 6, 2002 11:37 am

The Daily Prospectus: The Daily Prospectus: MLB v. NFL

0

Joe Sheehan

Many of the arguments for changing baseball's economic structure refer to the NFL as the model for a new one. The NFL has a payroll cap and appears to lack the revenue disparities of MLB, and is quite successful and popular, so why shouldn't MLB implement the tools that they use?

  Many of the arguments for changing baseball's economic structure refer to the NFL as the model for a new one. The NFL has a payroll cap and appears to lack the revenue disparities of MLB, and is quite successful and popular, so why shouldn't MLB implement the tools that they use?

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I've long argued that the differences between the NFL and MLB are so vast that comparing the two, and using the success of one as the basis for changes in the other is invalid. Today, I'll try and spell out why.

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