I was driving to my office last Monday when I had one of those weird ideas I couldn’t quite shake, so I called a sports business prof from Penn’s Wharton School and, when he didn’t laugh me off the line, wrote it up.
In short, it says the NFL has a lot of problems, between player violence, concussions, and difficulty globalizing:
Each of the problems can be addressed. But taken together, it’s not unthinkable that the league’s popularity is at what the petroleum industry calls “peak oil”—the high point of production. If stadiums don’t sell out, if the best young athletes stop playing football and move to basketball, soccer, or baseball because their parents won’t let them, if the NFL’s ability to attract a live TV audience diminishes even a little bit due to new viewing patterns … well then, the NFL could use a hedge to secure its ever-growing ambitions.
Luckily, there’s one right under their noses: Major League Soccer.
I think it’s worth a read, or I wouldn’t have written it, obviously.