It goes against conventional wisdom, but large corporations seem to go out of their way to piss off their fan base.
Let's take our national leader in sports, ESPN, as a prime example. Every single football fan I know absolutely loved the old NFL Primetime with Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. Once NBC bought the rights to broadcast Sunday night football games, ESPN axed its best show, replacing it with a watered-down version aired on Monday afternoons. While it's (barely) better than nothing, ESPN was lazy, opting not to think of a creative way to keep the traditional show running.
ESPN simply didn't care about its viewers then, and it certainly didn't show any compassion when it fired fan-favorite Emmitt Smith, simply because his debacled version of the English language tarnished its already-damaged reputation.
We can go on and on, listing different corporations who piss off their customers. McDonald's vehemently denies serving its awesome breakfast after 11. Network television stations, meanwhile, cancel its shows at the first hint of poor ratings, opting instead to air mindless reality shows. And who could forget Sony's blunder - charging people an ungodly amount for the Playstation 3 console that lacks quality games and isn't even backward compatible with Playstation 2 software. Even the XBox 360, with its epic fail Red Rings of Death, is a better bargain.
Now, the NFL has taken its turn to anger its fan base. Overlord Roger Goodell announced yesterday that he has moved the NFL Draft to Thursday evening, April 22, with the first round starting 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The second and third rounds will air on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The rest of the draft will commence 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
If you're wondering why this happened, the answer is a simple one: money. Goodell is hoping to capitalize on maximum ratings by televising one of the league's most popular events during two primetime slots.
I'm all for the league making more money, especially in our current economic climate, and I'll admit that spreading the draft out to three days will be easier for me and will also allow me to generate more NFL draft coverage. In fact, other than the 10 a.m. start time on Saturday - seriously is Goodell trying to kill me? - I don't have a huge problem with it (Matt, however, has mixed feelings if you want to read his blog entry on Moving the NFL Draft.)
What I am concerned about is Goodell alienating the fans, which in turn could decrease the popularity of the NFL Draft. I posted the news on the forum Thursday, and there wasn't a single positive comment.
Here is some of the feedback:
Michigan Mike: I think it's really stupid. I used to love the idea of spending an entire Saturday watching the draft.
ChicagoJay: Stupid, it will feel really drawn out and long and also I don't even know if I can stay up to watch it on a Thursday in the U.K.
Klunker18: So people on the West Coast are basically ****ed.
BroncoFan7: Ugh, I hate it. Horrible decision by the NFL. I liked in two parts, I guess they're living by Josh McDaniels motto "If it isn't broken... make it worse."
Kachunk: Why in the hell are they doing this. I guess the next thing will be to play the Super Bowl out of country. Why fix something that ain't broke!
Simonds: GOD that's obnoxious.
AzChargersFan: F*** that.
Joey Potter: Worst decision of the Goodell Era. This is nothing more than a load of crap and whoever suggested it should be fired.
BMC89: But it worked last year. I drank all for the 1st and 2nd rounds, then went out to parties when it was done. I can't do that on a Thursday night! I got classes!... **** it I'm drinking anyway.
Blue5213: This is so stupid and completely ruins our annual draft party. I don't know how we're going to work this out, since I usually come home for the draft, but I obviously can't do that on Thursday. **** the commissioner.
RyanWest: I disapprove. Totally ruins my future experiences with the draft. Doesn't the NBA draft prove that it doesn't work during the week?
J Snazzy: I think we should ban [cornerbacks] next... to make the game more exciting for the Casual Fan.
(A friend via e-mail): If Goodell can make a change, I want to as well. I'd like to change Roger Goodell's name to Roger Aholedell. It's more fitting.
TheDustyFootPhilosopher: **** you Rodger Godell, you don't even deserve your name spelled correctly. You whore, you're doing this all for money you son of a *****. I have never been this mad about an NFL decision ever. I mean WTF?!?!? Some people have school, or lives. I set aside that weekend once a year, where I veg out and get jacked about the draft. I study my new players, etc. Now, I get to study for my AP tests instead of the draft. **** YOU ROGER GODDELL YOU GREEDY WHORE!!! YOURE DOING THIS FOR MONEY AND MONEY ALONE!!!!!!! Walt if this is not on your Jerks of the Week I will be shocked.
To the Dusty Foot Philosopher: Roger Goodell will not be a Jerk of the Week - instead, I'm naming him Jerk of the Year.
The one thing you can't do in business is piss off your customers. That's obvious to everyone reading this, unless you happen to be a corporate big wig.
ESPN is fortunate because it essentially has a monopoly over sports coverage. However, McDonald's profit is down almost 9 percent from last year; no one is watching network TV anymore because of these stupid, cheap reality shows; and the Playstation 3 is dead last in next-generation console sales. And these idiot CEOs wonder what they're doing wrong.
Something tells me if Overlord Roger Goodell continues his foolish antics, the NFL may begin to decline in popularity as well - and then it won't even matter if NFL Primetime doesn't exist anymore, or if Emmitt's not on the tube to debacle the English language.