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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Flag Football At Olympics: A Win For NBC and Ex-NFL Stars?

  • Gronkowski the latest to want to participate in newly added sport
  • Observers see huge potential due in part to NFL's unabashed support
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Few details are finalized yet for the 2028 Olympics debut of flag football, and the IOC’s executive board only approved the sport’s inclusion into the program on Friday, moving the matter to the full IOC session that started Sunday in Mumbai. 

But that hasn’t stopped another major NFL figure from wanting in on the competition.

Days after Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill publicly called for fellow NFL players to join in, former star tight end Rob Gronkowski also said he wanted to participate. 

Gronkowski will be 39 at those Olympics and has been out of the NFL for two years, but his enthusiasm seems undimmed. “Count me in already. Hopefully, there’s no tryouts, and they just accept me. But I’m in,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports. 

Ratings Boost

The inclusion of flag football in the upcoming Los Angeles Games also looks to be a massive boon for NBC, which suffered badly in two straight pandemic-impacted Olympics that generated record-low ratings in both last year in Beijing and two years ago in Tokyo. It will also likely include massive promotion by the NFL, whose own international and participatory interests will be significantly amplified by this Olympic effort.

“When it was first mentioned to me, I thought: ‘Come on, who’s smoking what?’” said Michael Payne, former IOC director of marketing and TV and a deeply steeped expert on the Olympics movement. 

“But imagine what six months of NFL promotion will do for NBC, their Olympic telecast, and Los Angeles? It will create the noise to sell the airtime and be a massive promotional buildup. It’s a real game-changer.”

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