As expected, the NFL Scouting Combine is moving to prime time for TV next year.
NFL Media reports that the combine will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The combine has been a day-time event since its inception in 1982.
With the recent NFL Draft again setting record TV ratings, up 11% from the previous record set in 2018, it seemed inevitable the scouting combine would soon follow to the lucrative prime-time TV slot. In fact, last November the NFL inquired about moving this year’s combine sessions to night, but National Football Scouting president Jeff Foster told CBS 4 in Indianapolis that would have been impossible to do on such short notice.
Foster said the combine must make sure that the schedule change doesn’t cause issues for players.
“We need to make sure the experience is positive because if not, there is the potential downstream for players not to participate in the workouts,’’ Foster told CBS 4. “That wouldn’t be good for any of us. It wouldn’t be good for the players, wouldn’t be good for the agents, wouldn’t be good for the clubs and it certainly wouldn’t be good for television, which is trying to drive us to this.
“Like with anything, there is a tipping point and we need to figure out what that tipping point is. We need to make sure by trying to continue to evolve and bring more fans in and generate more revenue and do all of the things that are important from a league perspective we don’t lose sight of what’s most important, and that’s evaluating the players and having them participate.’’
The Combine will be held in Indianapolis for the 34th consecutive year in 2020. Indy is under contract to host the combine again in 2021, but NFL Media reports the combine will operate under a series of annual options beyond that. The NFL is reportedly considering moving the combine around to different cities, much the way it moves the NFL Draft. One possible destination: Los Angeles, where the Rams’ and Chargers’ new stadium opens in 2020.