REPORT: NFL Is Considering Making Major Change To Conference Championship Games, And The Fans Don't Like It At All
BY V. CARBONNEAU JANUARY 26, 2023 (12:17)
However, it looks like the idea is growing more and more popular amongst NFL execs.
Indeed, in his latest «Monday Morning Quarterback» column, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that the NFL could end up playing the conference title games at neutral sites down the road. The main reason? Money, of course.
How would they make money on them? In a few different ways:
• First, it'd make it easier to slap naming rights on the game—something, presumably, you'd never do with the Super Bowl. It would mirror what's done in college football with bowl games. It'd also be easier to get top dollar for such naming rights if you're selling the site of the game as part of it, too.
• Second, you'd have cities bidding for the neutral-site games, and it'd allow for places such as Detroit, Minneapolis or Indianapolis—cities that might get a Super Bowl once but possibly never again—a chance to continue to capitalize on having a Super Bowl–quality stadium. It could also help prepare cities to host a Super Bowl, or help the league evaluate cities that might bid on one.
• Third, the NFL could control and sell the suites and tickets. As it is now, teams generally sell those to their season-ticket holders and suite holders. «The inventory you could have for sponsors and networks and visitors is taken to a large degree by the sponsors and the ticket holders of the home team,» says one source connected to the league office. At a neutral site, everyone would be free of such obligations, so the NFL could sell all of that in advance, or use them with sponsors and corporate partners more efficiently. -ALBERT BREER