The theme of the 90-minute session was on where the NFL is headed. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL would focus on investing in the future, embracing and taking on challenges, taking the long-term view and making a difference beyond football.
Goodell posed two key questions: “How are we doing?” and “Where are we going?”
“The foundation is strong,” said Goodell, noting 10-year collective bargaining agreements with players and officials, long-term network television agreements and enhanced agreements with sponsors and licensees. Goodell mentioned that there are 13 stadium projects in the pipeline at a total estimated cost of $5.3 billion.
Following are some of the highlights outlined by the commissioner.
On the league’s emphasis on player health and safety:
“The game is safer and better,” said Goodell. “We are making process and our changes are working. But we have more work to do.”
Goodell said fans are engaging in record numbers, citing:
In the stadium: NFL stadiums are filled to 98 percent capacity.
On TV: NFL TV audiences dominate the TV landscape. Since 2005, primetime television viewership is down 22 percent. NFL game viewership since 2005 is up 24 percent.
Online and Mobile: Digital media platforms have expanded and are growing significantly. Fans are connecting with the NFL in more ways and spending more time than ever.
On thinking long-term, Goodell said: “We have done that in the NFL, and it has served us well. Have the courage to make tough decisions for the best long-term outcome.”
On making a difference beyond football, Goodell said: “As leaders, we can make a difference beyond the game of football. We have something very, very special in this room. Football is about passion. It is about bringing communities together. It is about teamwork and it is about the things that make your franchises successful making us as a league successful. It is about something bigger than ourselves and achieving that collectively.
“But with success comes more responsibility and it requires us to do more. That falls on everybody in this room. It is your personal responsibility as well as the thousands of people not in this room to do your part to celebrate our game to make people proud to be a part of this game.”
Goodell concluded by referencing two groups the league needs to continue to reach.
“One is our players, with a particular focus on our retired players,” noted Goodell. “Make them feel proud that they played NFL football. Make them feel proud and celebrate them to be part of your league and your teams. The second group is our fans. They love this game. We need to make sure they feel a part of it. We need to make sure they feel that same connection to the game. It is an exciting time for the NFL. We have a lot of work to do so, let’s get started.”
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