I noticed a lot of people were happy about the news that DirecTV would offer streaming options for Sunday Ticket without a satellite subscription.
But this is just the beginning of the end folks.
Televising football games has come long way since Pat Summerall and John Madden started calling games on CBS in 1981. With the dawn of the NFL Network in 2003, and Thursday Night Football three years later, fans would be forced to pay for a higher cable tier just to see a mediocre night of football.
The NFL is taking in nearly $10 billion in yearly revenue right now, which is an astronomical number if you’re name isn’t Warren Buffet. But the NFL suits want to make more. The NFL has a goal of making $25 billion in revenue by 2027.
Of course, they’re not going to make all that by selling its most prized possession for television viewers as a stand-alone product. People living in urban areas paying approximately $20 per week to stream games at home instead of going to sports bars may be a small step, but it’s a step toward something bigger.
It won’t take long before the NFL puts the clamps on a full Sunday Ticket streaming package and forces fans to only pay for an a la carte package. Meaning, you would only pay for the games you want to see. That is music to a lot of fan’s ears because why in the world would a Packers fan care about the Cardinals?
A few years after the NFL institutes the a la carte package, the NFL will want to go all-in with a pay-per-view package. Obviously, the broadcast networks will balk at this. The networks hemorrhage money each year on non-football programming, but the NFL is a cash cow for them and changing the current model would be terrifying.
But no matter how much resistance the broadcast networks put up, the NFL will want pay-per-view. The current TV deals with CBS, Fox and NBC are worth $27 billion and the agreement expires after the 2022 season. I doubt that pay-per-view will be in play when the next contract is signed, but it will be discussed.
The NFL is a beast and it is eating up anything that tries to stand in its way. Just think, if the NFL does reach its goal of $25 billion, it would be in the same financial stratosphere as Nike, McDonald’s and Goodyear Tire.
The losers, of course, would be the fans. The people that pay for cable and satellite packages, the new streaming services or even the ones that sit in sports bars every Sunday.
The next generation of fans may not grow up with the NFL as that familial sport that makes it easy to huddle around the TV. And the reason is because fans may not have the funds down the road to see all of their NFL idols on a weekly basis.
So, don’t take what we have for granted right now. There are at least 10 free games on Sunday, including the best-produced game of the week that night on NBC. I have never liked Thursday games, mainly because it diminishes team’s prep time and it’s obvious that many players are tired. But they aren’t going anywhere, especially now that CBS has thrown its hat into the ring this year.
The NFL has been accused of being too corporate and concerned about money before.
Roger Goodell can only shrug his shoulders. Why? Because he doesn’t care.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn