One of the greatest leagues and organizations in the world is the National Football League, and that’s mostly because it is run by some of the best business owners in the world. The legalization of sports gambling and people making NFL picks has only helped matters.
But the league has spread out its television deals with its latest rounds of bargaining, and not necessarily for the better. Amazon Prime won a bid for Thursday Night Football, which is only aired to people who have a subscription.
That seems like it will be more and more popular as other streaming services like Apple, Hulu, and others develop their own networks to broadcast games.
Here are a few issues facing the league, its consumers, and ways to work around them.
One of the best ways to watch is via NFL Sunday Ticket, which allows fans to watch their favorite teams. The contract the league had with DirecTV expired, and it was put up for bid and won by Google, which means that it will now move to YouTube TV.
The big search engine hopes that it has the same success in converting customers to their subscription streaming service, which costs $65 a month and has a sports package to cater to those fans. It is the latest way that the league and its partners are targeting people to cut the cord.
Some would say it is greedy to price out the older consumer base, but it could also be forward-thinking with a younger generation of fans who have already cut the cord. So they could just be meeting where the greatest growth potential is.
Though those younger fans are also more adept at hosting watch parties and sharing passwords, while some subscription services like Netflix vow to crack down on those, there is no complete way to do so.
Adding on an Amazon Prime subscription and then those who want to use NFL Sunday Ticket will have to pay the $65 per month and maybe a greater fee when it switches to YouTube TV in 2023; it almost prices out some fans with the rate of the economy. Plus, who knows what is going to happen next?
The difficulty the league is going to see is getting its older consumers to transition to streaming. Many did not grow up with technology like smartphones or tablets, or even computers for that matter. Most like to just search the channel guide and find what they will want to watch. While that is doable, technology is not how they are wired.
It is clearly a long game with the NFL, which reportedly received $2 billion from Google for the deal. The hope is that enough younger adults and children will be able to find premium services.
A Different Way to Watch
Sports bars are slowly going out of style for everyday needs. There will always be March Madness or some bettors at a sportsbook and a group of friends catching all the games at a Buffalo Wild Wings.
But maybe it should not go out of style. Groups of people always gather for the Super Bowl – and the entertainment spectacle of the amped-up commercials and halftime concert – so why would that not extend to the regular season?
The reality is that there has never been a more diverse consumer base for the NFL. The number of women who are watching the sport and the number of minorities who are watching the sport has hit all-time highs.
Then there is a whole different world of streaming that gives people creative and much cheaper ways to stream games. That includes the wonderful Reddit community, which finds free streams that are clean of malware and other viruses and gives those links to fans for free.
There are times when the media moguls crack down on those streams, but there is generally another one that is going to be fired up in the meantime.
The NFL is pricing itself out of a lot of homes, though maybe with the cost being what it would be for a couple to attend a game, that is the whole idea. But people love football, and all parties will continue to win as things change.