No one does television better than the NFL, the dominant force in U.S. ratings for more than a quarter-century now. An essential element of the Shield’s juggernaut status is its strategy and discipline around destination television, wherein it locks in traditional signposts of four-down football to engage fans from August through February. That was on full display Thursday night in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, a 21-16 win by the Cleveland Browns over Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets. As per tradition, the Hall of Fame game kicks off the beginning of the NFL pre-season, just as the first Thursday after Labour Day commences the regular season, American Thanksgiving ushers in the holiday season with a triple-header, and the first or second Sunday in February celebrates the champion of the Super Bowl each and every year.
Add in the commitment to destination television each week — Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays — and the NFL is as consistent with its scheduling parameters as its ratings are monsters, to the point where it typically produces more than 80 of the top-100 U.S. television shows — and 45 of the top 50 — each year.
It was another great week for the Baltimore Orioles, the best team in Major League Baseball’s American League. The young Orioles, who have been AL East doormats for much of the past eight years, increased their odds of winning the division title this year by taking three of four games from the bewildering Toronto Blue Jays. There was no question Baltimore is the better team based on the clutch hitting, outstanding defence, shutdown pitching and overall smarts they showed at the Rogers Centre.
The expanded wild card format will likely give the Jays another chance to prove themselves in the post-season, but it’ll be a short run if the Jays don’t get a lot more from George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Mark Chapman.
Meanwhile, the honeymoon continues unabated as the wonder that is Lionel Messi is felt by Inter-Miami CF, Major League Soccer and the beautiful game overall, one that will soon begin ramping up for the FIFA 2026 World Cup co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada. Among the biggest sport business beneficiaries is Apple TV, which is basking in the limelight of the opening season of a 10-year, $2.5-billion global TV deal with one million new subscriptions already in place, at least one-third of those coming since Messi’s decision to come to MLS.
It was a very tough week for the Canadian women’s national team as they exited from the FIFA Women’s World Cup in humbling fashion, a 4-0 loss against the co-hosts from Australia. It was a profound comedown for the Canadian women, who were among the favourites to win Down Under after earning a historic gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held in 2021. There is plenty of blame to go around, but one can’t help but wonder what the results might have been without the distraction and stress caused by the compensation dispute between the players and Canada Soccer, not to mention the underwhelming resources accorded the team in its planning and preparations for the World Cup.
Marketing communications executive and sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht — a co-founder of what was TEAM 1040/TSN 1040 in Vancouver — provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport business stories that matter most to fans. Follow Mayenknecht at: twitter.com/TheSportMarket.
Support our journalism: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province.