OTT may not be the future of the NFL, for much of the country

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‘Member when getting online consisted of hearing the dial tone, the rapid succession of the numbers being punched up by the modem, and the inevitable screeching and squawking until silence returned and the slow wait commenced for the images to gradually appear and the speakers to proclaim, “You’ve got mail”? For many, it’s not a memory.

So as the NFL plots a future of game-content delivery that consists of OTT services that rely on the high-speed Internet connections that many have taken for granted, it’s important to keep in mind the reality that millions are still living in AOLworld. Consider this June 15 article from the Wall Street Journal, dubbed “Rural America is Stranded in the Dial-Up Age.”

“Delivering up-to-date broadband service to distant reaches of the U.S. would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, experts estimate, an expense government, industry and consumers haven’t been willing to pay,” explains the item from Jennifer Levitz and Valerie Bauerlein. As a result, high-speed Internet access is either not available or ridiculously expensive in much of the country.

Which means that, while plenty have ditched cable or satellite TV for devices that deliver the images and sound just as quickly and reliably, plenty of people continue to be limited to the traditional means of receiving and digesting TV programming. And that doesn’t even include the millions who live in areas that have high-speed Internet available, but who due to economic limitations rely only on the free, over-the-air signals captured by rabbit-ear antennas.

Thus, while it’s a major part of the NFL’s future when it comes to Internet users who opt out of cable and satellite, OTT can’t be a replacement for those who don’t have that luxury.

22 responses to “OTT may not be the future of the NFL, for much of the country

  1. That’s okay. We “country folk” make do outside the house whenever any of the major world news channels broadcast the normal east coast or west coast stories. This will be another reason to enjoy the acreage.

  2. The NFL built its brand (is expanding its brand) by not being elitist. When a person has to pay a third party to view your content, that’s a disruption to your brand. Sports viewing becomes very niche when it’s on cable channel 417 or on YouTube or Amazon (sorry). CBS, NBC, FOX, are available to most people who do not need to be connected to the internet. ESPN, becomes a sort of niche alternative to ABC (more eyeballs on ABC), but is a promoter of sports in general, so the NFL lives with it.

    Experiment but be careful.

  3. My parents can only get dialup at their acreage but they just get unlimited data on their phone and set a hotspot. Maybe some places don’t have unlimited data but that’s the way to go.

  4. Since the NFL contract with Direct TV runs through 2022, I’m pretty sure this won’t be an issue for anyone. If someone can get cable, they have access to broadband. If someone is relegated to Satellite TV, then they can continue to use that for the next 5 years. (A veritable lifetime in terms of technology)

    Wireless broadband is already being tested and rolled out. By 2022 when the Direct TV contract expires, it will be available almost everywhere – even for the rural goat herders. What I don’t get is why this is supposedly an issue.

    I realize this is the slow time of year, but who is this article written for anyway? Is the NFL on the verge of tearing up their current contracts and signing an exclusive deal with facebook to broadcast all of their games?

  5. I guess people my age or being phased out for the millennials. Ask yourself this NFL, who has the money; a 43 year old working middle class guy/gal or a 20 year old?

  6. I’m shocked, shocked, to learn that there might be certain disadvantages to living in certain parts of the country.

  7. lt2369 says:
    Jun 26, 2017 10:25 AM

    Since the NFL contract with Direct TV runs through 2022, I’m pretty sure this won’t be an issue for anyone. If someone can get cable, they have access to broadband. If someone is relegated to Satellite TV, then they can continue to use that for the next 5 years. (A veritable lifetime in terms of technology)

    Wireless broadband is already being tested and rolled out. By 2022 when the Direct TV contract expires, it will be available almost everywhere – even for the rural goat herders. What I don’t get is why this is supposedly an issue.

    I realize this is the slow time of year, but who is this article written for anyway? Is the NFL on the verge of tearing up their current contracts and signing an exclusive deal with facebook to broadcast all of their games?

    ———-

    Do you realize that ESPN is the canary in the coalmine?

    Pretty much all their deals run through 2022. ESPN is losing a ton of money.

    These broadcasters can’t keep upping each contract by 50 percent.

    Where does that money come from?

    Higher prices from Budweiser, McDonalds, etc, etc . Things people can’t afford, because there’s no jobs, wages aren’t going up, and the Stock Market was fraudulently lifted higher through QE into the biggest bubble mankind has EVER seen.

    2nd you have the fact that the subscription fees pay for the rest. ESPN charges everyone signing a contract to carry ESPN to pay $8+ a month for ESPN. That number probably will be 10-11 by 2022. Who knows exactly, but it’ll be higher.

    Then you have the fact that lots of people are cutting the cord, not getting cable at all, or finding out they can ditch certain channels like ESPN.

    With these three things in place and the trend is accelerating on all fronts, the broadcast deals aren’t going to be there in 2022, like they were in the past.

    Now, the NFL OBVIOUSLY has the best shot to weather this situation. It’s the most popular. The other sports, especially college and 2nd/3rd tier sports will feel the crunch the most, but it’s going to happen.

    What this is more about is that the NFL might eventually have to cut out the broke middle man… like ESPN/Fox/NBC/CBS.

    If people aren’t watching tv, paying subscriptions to cable, and can’t buy the advertised products… well they need to make money. That’s direct to consumers.

    Directv is one way, but mostly they mean streaming directly to the customer.

    Buying a ‘direct tv’ sort of package, but not through direct tv’. Straight from the NFL.

    People don’t realize that if payments stop increasing, labor strife will be around the corner. Let alone if salary cap has to decrease.

    The last 30 years or so has seen incredible growth in revenue. That’s not going to happen anymore. It’s deflation time, and the last get out of jail card the NFL has is to cut out the middle man and sell directly to the customer online.

    That’s what this is about.

    Thanks Clinton/Bush/Obama. Maybe next time, don’t repeal Glass-Steagall and bail out the banksters frauds that inevitably ensued creating this scenario we are now watching play out (in the early effectual stages of a long running theme).

  8. Man, I’m so old I ‘member when they use to put an r and an e before ‘member. Anyone else ‘member that?

  9. Reading these comments it is obvious how out of touch many people are about the other people who live in this country. I live in a rural area where broadband is limited to slow DSL or dialup- neither of which are capable of streaming. Cell signal is spotty at best and streaming on a phone is not possible. We have 3G here. All of us have rabbit ears or DirecTV. It will take me about 30 seconds to send this comment.

    There is a reason video stores still exist here.

    While we love the NFL, it is the NFL who needs to decide if they want to keep us as customers, not us who need to decide if we want to see the NFL. We want the NFL, but don’t need the NFL.

    We wouldn’t want to change where we live, and not having those technologies is hardly a problem for us. We’re happy to be somewhat disconnected. And there are millions of us. And we aren’t all poor.

    This post is spot on. Want to keep hard working blue collar rural America where the sport was built? Keep it on free or satellite TV.

  10. This is something I pointed out the other day on this story. There are lots and lots of places in this country that don’t get high speed internet and are located where people are content with OTA television. This is why until a better delivery method comes into play than free OTA TV, network contracts aren’t going anywhere. Besides, the worst games every week are on the paid channels of the cable and satellite providers, and most people who watch on OTA are fine with the one game the network puts on in their region. It’s kind of how the NFL became king because it was a once a week event, and often, the one game picked by each network for each time slot was often pretty good. We tend to think because we have it, the whole country is living like we do, when I know lots and lots of places where they can only get high speed satellite internet service, and that quite frankly sucks for streaming.

  11. What nonsense is this? About 89% of US residents have access to home broadband (about 11% cannot get home broadband where they live). But 8% of the 11% who cannot get home broadband can get 4G reception on a mobile phone. That means only about 3% of the US has no access to home broadband or mobile broadband.

    Among younger people, less than 5% have pay TV but choose not to pay for home broadband. About 20% of 18-34 year olds living in their own homes have home broadband but no pay TV.

  12. realfootballfan says:
    Jun 26, 2017 11:29 AM

    There are lots and lots of places in this country that don’t get high speed internet and are located where people are content with OTA television.

    ==========

    There aren’t “lots and lots of place”. Only about 11% of the population can’t get home broadband, and 8% of that 11% can get 4G on a mobile phone.

  13. 11% of America is still 33 million people. I know 11% “seems” like a small manageable number. But it’s still 33 million people.

    Just for perspective. That’s a lot of households.

  14. factschecker ,

    Thank you for explaining it, even though I thought I did a good job of explaining that people project how they’re living onto everyone else. There are whole states with archaic high speed internet delivery systems. The NFL doesn’t want to put themselves out of households needlessly when again, OTA TV is free and readily accessible wherever you live here.

  15. Why invest in rural broadband? The more poor, fearful and uneducated we can keep rural communities the better. Jobs, opportunity, and education are only meant for those in cities where they can be corralled and monitored much more effectively.

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