The first streaming game of the NFL season is this Sunday at 9:30am ET/6:30am PT and we, at The Rail, couldn’t be more excited. Why? Because that means we can debut our first entry onto our Streaming Tab on the SportsTV Guide dashboard. Yes, streaming again! We know you guys don’t really care about streaming sports or even want to invest the few minutes to assess where it fits with your overall sports programming, but it’s coming and there is nothing any of us can do about it.
This game between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars is exclusively on Yahoo.com for anyone outside of these two demographic markets. If you are in or around Baltimore/Jacksonville you will get the game on your local CBS affiliate and it will be listed on your guide. However, if you are anywhere else, it’s ONLY on Yahoo.com.
That is why we created the Streaming Events tab on our dashboard. There is literally nowhere to access an aggregated list of streaming sports and we are going to be providing that to our subscribers beginning in mid-October. We have been blathering on about streaming sports for years, but it’s truly time for you to stop mincing about and get this technology incorporated into your A/V systems.
Some great content is evading you without accessing to streaming events. Let’s take the WWE for example. When DIRECTV dumped their WWE PPV schedule a few years ago, many of you got skunked. The WWE PPV’s were reasonably priced, scheduled at 8pm on a Sunday evening and drove family traffic. Then suddenly you couldn’t show them anymore….except that you can if you just buy them directly from the WWE. They are available on an aggregated streaming platform like Roku and AppleTV. You just have to take the time to install a streaming device on your A/V system.
Back to the NFL and what’s happening with streaming. Both Yahoo, Twitter, and Amazon have inked deals with the NFL to show their games live on their infrastructure. Amazon, for example, is showing 10 Thursday Night Football matchups this season starting September 28th. While that won’t impact you because the games are still on NFL Network and the local market affiliates, it’s a harbinger of what’s to come. When the DIRECTV and NFL Sunday Ticket contract ends in 5 years (2022-23 season) the NFL may move to a direct-t- consumer model without a second thought. DIRECTV already offers a streaming-only version of the Sunday Ticket and Verizon has been offering the same on mobile only for several years.
If the NFL moves to a direct-to-consumer model you can bet the other leagues will as well. Besides, new content providers like STADIUM are already offering high-quality games direct-to-consumer with some advertiser supported and some subscription-based offerings. The time is finally here that you can get thousands of second and third tier games that you had no shot at previously. Imagine being able to say yes to a guest for the Holy Cross/Lehigh soccer game and have it cost you pennies to do so.
Over the next few months, we will be offering more insights on streaming sports and their place in any serious sports themed operators planning. We hope you will help us understand why you are resisting or why you are adopting so we can all benefit from each other’s experience. Until then enjoy the Baltimore/Jacksonville game live on Yahoo.com and you can access that and several other games on our new Streaming Events tab starting in mid-October.