Mark Cuban, the billionaire Internet entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is a very very smart fellow. So when he talks about anything having to do with the business of sports, he's worth listening to. But this is amazing... from six months ago, Cuban wrote on Facebook about problems facing the NFL:
2. Player Behavior.
The NBA learned this lesson. Fans don’t like to see players acting the fool. While fans may forgive players over time, advertisers have long memories.
It is hard to ask players to be warriors on the field and perfect citizens off. Across a population of more than 1500 players under the age of 30, you can bet that they will have continuing issues. With the unquenchable thirst the online and media world have for HEADLINE PORN, and the ever growing availability of pictures of those mistakes appearing online, it is not inconceivable that over the next ten years something could impact the perception of the game enough to impact attendance and viewership.
The Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson stories are perfect examples of bad behavior by players, captured on video or photographs, generating "headline porn" for the 24/7 media machine. Will advertisers turn away? Maybe. Will fans? Probably not. What will affect fans over time is another point Cuban makes:
1. I wouldn’t want my son playing football, would you?
I’m sure helmet technology will improve over the next 10 years, but why risk it? There are plenty of sports to play. Plenty of ways to get exercise and if my son decided to do anything outside of sports and never pick up any ball of any kind, I’m fine with that. I can think of 1k things I would prefer him to get excited about doing.
As far as watching, I good with that.
I don’t think I’m alone. If we start to see a decline of popularity at the high school and then college level because kids choose other sports, it will hurt the interest in watching the NFL
Like I said... he's a very smart fellow.