Roger Goodell Comments on Ratings, Raiders' Potential Move to Las Vegas, More
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media following Wednesday's owners meetings in Houston, and he touched on topics ranging from the league's ratings decline on television to the Oakland Raiders' potential move to Las Vegas.
Goodell also answered questions regarding the league's intense focus on celebration penalties and how the NFL will continue to approach gambling.
Here's an overview of what the commissioner had to say as the midway point of the 2016 regular season approaches.
Goodell Discusses Ratings Decline
NFL ratings have dropped double-digit percentage points in every prime-time window, according to Fox Sports' Michael Mulvihill, and Goodell attempted to elaborate on why fewer fans are tuning in.
"We don't think we've lost viewers," he said, according to the Washington Post's Mark Maske. "It's viewers, but it's also how long they're engaging for."
Goodell noted fans' consumption habits have a tendency to change over time, and that much has been evident of late. According to NFL.com's Conor Orr, Goodell pointed to the NFL's partnerships with Snapchat, YouTube and Yahoo as one reason why viewers have shifted away from TV.
"We don't make excuses," he added, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "We look at what's changing."
Goodell later emphasized he doesn't believe national anthem protests have anything to do with ratings dips.
"We don't think that's a factor, our network partners don't either," he said, per The MMQB's Albert Breer.
Raiders Continue Push For Las Vegas Move
The owners meetings also served as a forum for Raiders owner Mark Davis to pitch the other 31 owners on his team's prospective move to Las Vegas.
Speaking to USA Today's Tom Pelissero, Davis confirmed he's intent on moving the team from the Bay Area to Sin City after speaking to government officials in Las Vegas:
"It was really important to me that once that (Nevada deal) came through, that I live up to my commitment I made to (the governor)," Davis said, per Pelissero.
Goodell, however, cautioned that the league and its owners have to do more due diligence before any sort of vote regarding relocation can be held.
"There's still a great deal of information we need to gather," he said, per Pelissero.
NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano reported Goodell is in favor of the team staying in Oakland, but the logistics regarding a new stadium deal remain unsettled:
Davis recently said he'd "like to be calling it [Las Vegas] home right now," according to CSN Bay Area, but there are evidently still several hurdles for the Raiders to clear in order for the move to become official.
Odds and Ends
Elsewhere, Goodell told the assembled media the league's crackdown on celebration penalties has been to protect the image of its players in the eyes of young viewers.
"It comes down to balancing a lot of issues," he said, per Maske. "We do believe that our players are role models."
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman provided his take on the soundbite:
Goodell also continued to oppose legalized gambling on NFL games.
"We remain very much opposed to gambling on sports," he said, per Rapoport. "We want to make sure we're doing what's right for the game."
It should be noted that Goodell's stance on gambling runs counter to that of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Two years ago, Silver penned an op-ed in the New York Times advocating for legalized and regulated sports betting in the United States. In the piece, Silver wrote, "There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events," since the industry generates an estimated $400 billion in illegal bets each year.