After rumors to the contrary, the NFL reportedly won’t have game on Black Friday this season. It feels like for 2022 it might have been something that would be put together too quickly, deciding to add another holiday and uncommon day of the week for a game. And you can probably throw in the United States facing England in a 2022 World Cup match earlier on Black Friday as another reason for a Black Friday NFL game not happening this year. Whenever the league does a Black Friday matchup, they’ll want as high ratings as possible.
Despite no Black Friday NFL game in 2022, it’s a great bet to happen soon, likely starting in 2023—and it’s a fantastic idea.
Again, we have the USMT versus England World Cup matchup this year, but Black Friday is typically a relatively light day on the sports calendar. There’s college football, but typically no must-seematchups. You might take Black Friday to put up Christmas decorations or go shopping. That said, the NFL knows they can put one game at night to cap off Black Friday with major success following the three Thanksgiving games the day before.
The NFL thrives on the holidays. Family and friends come together, and in many cases, there’ll be a television with the games on. Thanksgiving has long been associated with football—from high school to college to the NFL. Football season also falls around Halloween, sometimes with game(s) falling on the holiday if it’s on a Sunday, Monday, or Thursday. And the NFL has gotten heavily into the Christmas spirit in recent years, and they’re apparently set to have three Christmas Day games this year, with the holiday falling on a Sunday (along with a bunch on Christmas Eve that Saturday).
It makes total sense for the NFL to also seize Black Friday as a day to circle on the calendar for fans of the league.
The sports betting craze and fantasy football will get even more eyes on the screen—and more dollars for the league, daily fantasy companies, and sportsbook operators. Thanksgiving games can average around 30 million viewers, and a Black Friday matchup can do similar numbers, with many consumers off work and relaxing at home. The NFL on Black Friday would easily be one of the top broadcasts of the year, another feather in the cap for the most popular sport in America.
Also, the players should be down for a Black Friday game. The game’s participants will get more rest on a short week than they do for Thursday games, and then they’ll have the weekend off with a mini bye week. Another holiday game on the schedule eventually means more money for them, too.
So, the NFL on Black Friday would almost certainly be a win-win-win for the league, its players, and fans. It’s a natural fit given how much the NFL and its broadcast partners like to play on holidays. You don’t want to just start putting games on random days of the week too often like it’s another sport, because some people might tire of that—exclusivity is a key part of the NFL’s success. But Black Friday presents an easy fit to add another highly anticipated primetime matchup in late November every year.
I’m already looking forward to Black Friday 2023.