MUNICH – Outside of the British Isles, football has stopped in Europe, with few exceptions. Players are enjoying their mini vacation before 2022 which is very busy for national players.
Not all sports leagues take a break (eg the German Ice Hockey League), but there are no Christmas or New Year’s evening matches this year either. The notable exception is the New Year’s jump at the Four Hills Championship.
While this is normal for us Europeans, it is very different in the United States. There sports tournaments do not pause on holidays, but are celebrated.
NFL on Thanksgiving, NBA on Christmas, college on New Year
In addition to the Fourth of July, the United States’ national holiday, there are three major holidays in the United States: Thanksgiving in November, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It will be the same in 2021, on the last day of the year there will be two college football semi-finals between Cincinnati and Georgia as well as Alabama and Michigan (from 9:10pm live on ProSieben MAXX and ran.de).
It’s not a coincidence, it’s always been like this. It is an established rule that these semi-finals take place as close to New Year’s Day as possible.
Same thing with Thanksgiving. Since 1936, believe it or not, for over 85 years, the Detroit Lions have played a home game on Thursday afternoons every year in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys have played a home game on Thanksgiving Day since 1966 and there is now a third game in the evening. Otherwise, this is not the case on any Thursday of the year.
If Thanksgiving belongs to an oval ball, then Christmas is to a round ball. Since 1947, the second season of the NBA, there have been a whopping five games every December 25th, from noon until late at night local time. Unlike the NFL, however, no teams have “booked” this date.
Turning tradition into a commercial interest
The fact that decades-old traditions have been preserved is beautiful, but it certainly isn’t the only reason why it continues to exist today. A public holiday logically means that the majority of people do not have to work while they are free. Thanksgiving and Christmas either at home or with friends and family.
The ideal conditions to reach as many people as possible through sports broadcasting and earn money through it.
This is reflected in the numbers: Thanksgiving games in the NFL are regularly among the games with the highest ratings. That year, nearly 39 million Americans watched the Dallas Cowboys vs Las Vegas Raiders game, the best since 1990. Captivating regular seasons in prime time, like Tom Brady’s return with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we don’t even begin to get close to those numbers .
So, the bottom line: Americans love sporting events on major holidays. Because of tradition – and because of money.
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