By Mr. Edge, 10/26/2018
Sporting events are big business.
103.4 million people watched the 2018 Superbowl and that was the lowest total since 2009. So why the decline in viewership and what does it mean for how we watch sporting events in the future?
To start, let’s examine the TV contracts each league has with different broadcast companies to get an idea of how much distributing content is worth. ESPN has the largest national TV broadcast contract with the NFL for $15.2 billion from 2014 to 2022. Amazon and the NFL have a two-season contract for Thursday night football for $65 million. The MLB reached agreements in 2012 with several broadcast companies through 2021 for $12 billion. The NBA reached an agreement in 2014 for 10 years with ABC, ESPN and Turner for $24 billion In 2011, the NHL reached an agreement for 10 years with NBC for $200 million each season. There is a trend here. These broadcast deals are worth large amounts of money.
Imagine each sports league having their own applications giving subscribers personalized access to games. Packages could range from individual team access, groups or bundles of multi-team access, specified number of games, ala carte, etc.
Some leagues may not want to dive deep into internet streaming, but for those who do, they would also control the subscriber experience. From games to advertisements, the leagues would be in charge. In fact, the advertising revenue alone would be monstrous. The 2018 Super Bowl generated $414 million in revenue.
My final prediction is that the NBA is the first internet streamer to do this themselves in the 2025-2026 season. Bold prediction, I know. So remember, you heard it here first.