You might think you want to watch the NFL on Sunday nights because it's often the best game of the week, or because you're related to one of the broadcasters, which, let's face it, as many as there are, is pretty likely. But no: You're watching football on Sunday nights because NBC is in your brain!
In a vaguely creepy story in Adweek, NBC details how its "Sunday Night Is Football Night" campaign is, actually, the result of countless focus groups and an understanding that football fans really, really like to go to brunch.
"The word 'night' is the key part of our slogan," said [Mike McCarley, vp of strategic marketing and communications for NBC Universal Sports and Olympics]. The underlying message needs to be that football is better at night—the screen is clearer, the field looks better and with the lights it feels like an entertainment event. "We want people to go to brunch during the day and look forward to getting together with friends to watch football at night," said [Dev Patnaik, head of "innovative strategy team" Jump Associations].
In other words: NBC has studied your patterns — and we all know how well focus groups work — and decided that you don't care about the game, only hanging out with your buddies.
"We realized that watching sports on a weekend night is a social and interactive activity for TV viewers," said McCarley. "Think of Sunday Night Football like the Academy Awards show, where friends gather to eat and talk, root for their favorites and comment about the action on the screen—except this event comes every week," noted Dev Patnaik, Jump co-founder. "Our research showed NBC that the game's real content is the people in the room. The people watching are part of the show. Sunday night is not the time for the attitude 'Shut up or leave the room so I can watch the game,'" he said. Rather viewers preferred to talk trash to each other about favorite players and plays.
Part of us considers this a step up, actually; it's quite a leap to go from "Sports Fan As Person Who Will Always Pick A Beer Over A Hot Chick" to "Sports Fan As Marathon Bruncher." But so you know, NBC: "by repeating the Orwellian tagline 'with ruthless consistency,' you don't make us want to watch your show. You make us want to die.
Not that it matters: We'll be watching the games anyway. After all, we prefer to talk trash to each other about our favorite players and plays!