For NBC, 'Sunday Night' Is More Than Football

SAN FRANCISCO If you’ve seen the new crop of ads for NBC’s upcoming season of Sunday Night Football, you may have noticed a heavy emphasis on the “Sunday night” part, but not so much the “football.” That’s not an oversight. The strategy is based on extensive research conducted last year that shows weekend sports viewing is for many people more about the social interaction than the game.

Mike McCarley, vp of strategic marketing and communications for NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, explained that when the show debuted in 2006, “our summer launch campaign had to introduce what Sunday Night Football...

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