The NFL is going above and beyond to expand its reach into the United Kingdom. Last November, Chris Halpin, the head of NFL International, told Newsweek that there is "nothing blocking us from a franchise in London" when asked about the possibility of starting up the first NFL organization overseas. The league also has consistently increased its games play during the regular in London.
There efforts have been massive, but a slight overlook, perhaps, was their decision to push the NFL Combine to a primetime television slot, beginning on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET and running to 11 p.m. ET over the next three nights. With the combine changing its usual all-day format, fans in the United Kingdom are voicing their frustrations with the late start time.
In London, the 4 p.m. start is actually 9 p.m., which means the combine will not wrap up until 4 a.m.
Disappointing that @NFL is shifting the #NFLCombine into “prime time”. This will doubtless increase its domestic audience but as a Brit who has enjoyed watching it the past few years it’ll now be in the middle of the night! @nflnetwork— Max Freedman (@maxiefreedman) February 24, 2020
"[NFL Combine] really kicks off today. Moving it to primetime isn't great for us in the UK, but I'll catch as much of it as I can live," one user tweeted.
Sucks that the NFL saw fit to move the #NFLCombine to “Primetime”. 9pm-4am. Grim.— British CeeDeeGang (@BritishBirdgang) February 24, 2020
The combine will run until Sunday with the final day going from 2 p.m. ET until 7 p.m. ET.
With the league becoming a monopoly and more and more eyes every year paying attention to the NFL Combine, it's no surprise the league saw the possibility of moving the event to prime time as a financially beneficial move.
NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper said that he has no concern with the league's decision to push the start time back so it can get more viewers.0comments
“I don’t think the time change matters to me,” Kiper said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t think it matters to anybody in the league.”
When the drills kick off on Thursday, Kiper, along with the expanded viewership, will get to see the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight end take the stage on the first night. That won't include the consensus No. 1 overall pick and former LSU standout quarterback, Joe Burrow. He will be forgoing the opportunity to throw at the event, which is something that has been done previously by highly-ranked quarterbacks.