Mark Cuban Predicted the NFL’s Ratings Nosedive 2 Years Ago


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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban earned his reputation as a prescient businessman by making savvy projections about the technology industry.

So the NFL probably should have listened when he predicted their ratings fall two years ago.

While it may have sounded like bristling at football's invasion of NBA-dominated Thursday nights, Cuban told ESPN's Tim McMahon in March 2014 that greed would be Roger Goodell's downfall.

"I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion," Cuban said. "I'm just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy.

"Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."

After six weeks of football, the NFL's ratings are down an estimated 11 percent across the board. While it's easy to ascribe the drop to a circus of a presidential election and players listening to songs on one knee, it's undeniable that the expansion of Thursday night games ensured that at least one primetime game per week is a dud, giving players less time to recover and coaches less time to prepare. The average age of NFL players has also dropped thanks to revelations about football's effects on long-term health and a payment structure that rewards teams for coveting younger—and therefore less experienced and less polished—players.

“They’re trying to take over every night of TV,” Cuban continued. “Initially, it’ll be, ‘Yeah, they’re the biggest-rating thing that there is.’ OK, Thursday, that’s great, regardless of whether it impacts [the NBA] during that period when we cross over. Then if it gets Saturday, now you’re impacting colleges. Now it’s on four days a week.

“It’s all football. At some point, the people get sick of it.”

Back to Cuban's comment about greed and his tech background—the NFL's dictatorial clutching of its content on social media has also deterred viewers from turning in. The league is so stingy about highlights of its games being shared without its permission that teams like the Philadelphia Eagles

… and Cleveland Browns have resorted to some funny digs at the NFL's ridiculous policy.

Notably, the NBA loves it when you record a ridiculous Stephen Curry shot and share it with the world, drawing more interest to the league. And the last NBA game we saw is the highest-rated since Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals.