There currently aren’t any games taking place in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a clock being monitored by the NFL. The clock won’t even run down until 2022, but you’d better believe that every single person in the Corporate offices of not only the NFL but DirecTV, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Verizon, and countless other companies as well. The clock I’m referring to, is when we’ll see the current NFL Sunday Ticket deal between the NFL and DirecTV expire.
DirecTV signed an exclusive deal with the NFL that allows them to carry out of market games to their customers through a subscription service. When the deal was originally signed, it was a great deal for both parties. The NFL saw more than $1.5 Billion dollars come through their account and DirecTV saw a way to lock football fans into a long term every increasing monthly satellite television service. IF you think DirecTV is more worried about getting you to subscribe to Sunday Ticket than their monthly package, tell them if they waive the Sunday Ticket fee you’ll become a customer, and watch how fast they waive that fee. They make far more money off of regular monthly subscribers than they do on selling the Sunday Ticket package, and that’s what it comes down to for both parties, is money.
We’ve seen competitors such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Verizon, Yahoo, and even Google get into the battle for streaming superiority, so it won’t surprise anyone to see all of those companies along with some surprises when it comes time to renegotiate the Sunday Ticket deal. While the cost to the company in licensing the rights from the NFL may appear to be outrageous, companies have an entire team of accountants, marketing agents, lawyers, and advertising executives hammering away all the details and possible numbers to make sure they’ll turn a profit.
The NFL may decide to stick with DirecTV and keep them as the only provider of NFL out of market games, or they could decide to allow another company to jump into the mix. Obviously DirecTV isn’t going to pay nearly as much if another company is allowed the same rights, but it is possible that splitting the cost between two parties may net the NFL just as much money if not more than they were previously making.
Another option, would see the NFL award rights to another company and freeze DirecTV out. Google and Amazon both have the money to outbid DirecTV, and they already have streaming services in place that they could use to their advantage. Good and Amazon both could make it a package for subscribers, they could add it to the packages they already have in place, or they could surprise everyone and simply stream the games for free. Streaming the games for free isn’t as crazy as it may sound, as they would be able to recoup the cost through selling advertising, some of which, would be advertisements for their own products such as Amazon Prime and Google Fiber.
One thing that all parties involved will have to consider when going through the process, is that many people have gone away from subscribing to NFL Sunday Ticket and instead opt to watch the free streams through various outlets such as Reddit. This saves the average football fan a lot of money over the course of the year, but obviously it results in lost advertising dollars for everyone involved. Obviously we don’t condone these type of actions, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t take place all around the Country.
There are two other possibilities that the NFL could still possibly explore outside of the above mentioned deals. The first of which, is simply allowing the television networks to air whatever game they want to without regard to blackout rules. While it’s highly unlikely they would go this route, as they aren’t willing to risk hurting attendance at the games themselves, it is an option that would make many football fans very happy, along with the networks who would see more viewers tune in to a more competitive game, which would result in more advertising dollars in their pockets. The final option that the NFL has at their disposal, is simply keeping the games themselves and offering them through their own subscription service. The NFL would then be able to add more paying users to their services, and control the advertising which keeps the advertisement money in their pocket. They could find that the money they would make in advertising and subscriptions would exceed any deal they could make with another provider.
No matter what the NFL decides to do, and rest assured, they’re already working on deals, they ultimately will wind up making a deal that is ultimately in their best interest financially. If it works out better for the fans, that’s a bonus, but their top priority isn’t pleasing the fan base, but rather lining their pockets. Only time will tell what is to become of the NFL Sunday Ticket, and fans around the Country will be waiting to see what is decided. Perhaps we’ll see the NFL join the 21st century when it comes to streaming, but they have shown to be very reluctant to change, so if it were me, I wouldn’t bet on them doing anything too drastic, but I will make sure my Amazon Prime account is paid up, just in case.