NEW YORK – January 2, 2013 – With 29 of the 30 most-watched shows on television this season, nothing in American society has the cultural power of the National Football League. Six decades ago, when baseball was king and boxing ruled the television screen, the idea of professional football as a cultural titan was unimaginable. So, how did it happen? How did the NFL go from a business that lost money in the late 1940’s into the most powerful sports entity on the planet? What transformed it from a sport where players were lucky to make a couple of hundred dollars per game to a goliath where some earn tens of millions per year in salary and endorsements?
Contrary to popular perception, the creation of this sports empire was not solely based on blocking, tackling or Broadway Joe Namath. The NFL did not become number one by accident or by destiny. The NFL’s ascendance was, in part, the product of sound, sometimes brilliant, business decisions.
NBC Sports Network presents Star Spangled Sundays, a four-part special that will document the rise of the NFL to become the most-popular sport in America. Star Spangled Sundays, debuts Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Following are the scheduled original airdates for the four-part series:
Episode I: Rise of a Colossus – Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. ET. Deft handling of the new medium of television vaults the National Football League from America’s fourth most popular sport into a cultural and financial titan.
Episode II: Labor Pains – Tuesday, January 15 (Time TBD). NFL players and owners work to create labor peace in the NFL’s $9 billion industry.
Episode III: Brand NFL – Tuesday, January 22 (Time TBD). Riding a cultural and demographic tidal wave, the NFL turns professional football into a year-round, revenue-generating business and has become the most powerful brand in American sports.
Episode IV: Super Sunday – Tuesday, January 29 (Time TBD). The NFL transforms the Super Bowl into the biggest entertainment event on the American calendar.
INTERVIEW SUBJECTS INCLUDE:
Roger Goodell – NFL Commissioner
DeMaurice Smith – Executive Director of NFLPA
Bill Carter – New York Times
Paul Tagliabue – Former NFL Commissioner
Jerry Jones – Dallas Cowboys Owner
Robert Kraft – New England Patriots Owner
Bob Costas – NBC Commentator
Al Michaels – NBC Commentator
Mike Florio – ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com
Mike Singletary – Hall-of-Fame NFL Linebacker and former 49ers Head Coach
Bobby Mitchell – Former NFL Running Back
Bill Curry – Former NFL player
Steve Bornstein – NFL’s Executive Vice President of Media; President and CEO of the NFL Network
Tom Condon – NFL agent
Joe Browne – NFL Senior Advisor
Carl Peterson – Former President, CEO, GM, Kansas City Chiefs
Don Ohlmeyer – Former Television Producer/Executive
David Hill – Former Chairman, Fox Sports
Upton Bell – Son of former NFL Commissioner Bert Bell)
Richard Berthelsen – Former counsel NFLPA
Joe Horrigan – Vice President, Communications: Pro Football Hall of Fame
Donnie Deutsch – Advertising Executive and television personality
Donald Trump – Business Magnate
Kurt Badenhausen – Forbes
Michael Ozanian – Forbes
David Harris – Author/reporter
Michael MacCambridge – Author of America’s Game
Michael Oriard – Author of Brand NFL, King Football, Reading Football
Steve Rosenbloom – Son of former Colts/Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom
Allen St. John – Author of Billion Dollar Game
Jimmy Walsh – Joe Namath’s agent
Gregg Easterbrook – Writer, ESPN.com
Indra Nooyi – CEO of Pepsi
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–