How much will NFL’s TV deals change after 2022?

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A few months after the 2011 lockout ended, the NFL unlocked a new slate of billion-dollar long-term TV contracts.  As those deals progress through their expiration date in 2022, the league could be cracking the code on a new way of delivering games to its customers.

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, who co-chairs the NFL’s digital media committee and whose father, Robert, chairs the league’s broadcasting committee, recently explained that the decades-old model could be changing in the next round of deals.

“[C]learly when we get to the end of this deal, what has been our traditional television deals I’m sure will change in their form and format,” Kraft said Thursday, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.  “I think the way [games are] distributed and the way you access them, by definition, will be different, and we will definitely evolve with the consumer.  And between now and then we’ll be doing a lot of experimenting so we know exactly what our consumers want.”

What the consumers want will be balanced against what the government wants.  The federal broadcast antitrust exemption allows the NFL to bundle its TV rights together, forcing networks to take all teams in order to get the national brands with the broadest appeal.  If the NFL significantly changes the manner in which games are made available via free, broadcast TV, the powers-that-be in Washington could decide to overturn the exemption.

And that leads to another potentially intriguing question.  The current broadcast antitrust exemption, crafted back when computers were the size of Winnebagos and telephones became wireless only when the next-door-neighbor drank half a case of Schlitz and ripped the rotary dial off the wall, addresses the concept of “telecasting” games.  Will the exemption apply to games delivered through Internet streaming or other means that don’t involve a traditional “telecast”?

That’s just one of the issues the league will confront as it determines how to go about ensuring that the enormous real-time audience that it currently gathers around televisions will translate to desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, and the computer chips that eventually will be embedded in our bodies with our eyelids serving as the remote control.

38 responses to “How much will NFL’s TV deals change after 2022?

  1. I don’t see any major changes to the NFL broadcast package, other than internet streaming of out-of-market games. Why kill the goose that is laying tons of golden eggs?

  2. You’re likely talking a dynamic pricing model that allows everything from Pay-Per-Year (i.e. Game Pass) to Pay-Per-Game to “Pay Per Play” that will charge you dynamically based on live game metrics (i.e. top teams in a tight game in 4th quarter might cost you $10 to join, whereas bottom-feeders in 4th quarter of a blowout may be as low as free to watch).

    Net-neutrality law may change all of this as intermediaries (ie. cable mega corps) will be able to insert a fee for HD quality streaming.

  3. Tough to predict 8 years into the future. I really doubt the NFL will go to a full pay for view deal. I suspect 40 or 50% of NFL fans would just say ” I’m out” and NOT pay for the games.
    I love the NFL but I’m not paying for games.

  4. Obviously this means the NFL Billionaire owners want more fans paying pay for view of NFL games. I guess that’s a good thing as long as that money doesn’t go to the greedy players. lol

  5. If they cared what consumers wanted, they would have left DirectTV already.

    Who wants to change their provider to watch games?

    I was genuinely excited when it was announced that they were looking at the possibility of YouTube broadcasting games, but then they re-upped with DirectTV and assured themselves that I wouldn’t be subscribing to watch NFL games in the immediate future.

  6. Its not a matter of ” if it aint broke, dont fix it”. The way we watch TV and other media will change drastically by 2022.

  7. TV will no longer be the king of media by 2022, broadcast tv will be vastly different from what it is today. It will be more internet based and the TV deal will be replaced with an overall media distribution deal that incorporates your ISP with broadcast. They can’t negeotiate a deal yet because things are changing so quickly in the home.
    I don’t understand why the NFL doesn’t broadcast games in 3D to your local movie theater like FathomEvents or something like that. Look outside of the 16×9 box NFL. Would love to pay $10 for three hours of my favorite team in a group setting like that. The theater owners wouldn’t mind filling empty seats on a Sunday morning.
    Things are going to change radically in 7-8 years.

  8. commercials already pay for the TV games. I might pay up to $10 to watch an individual game with my favorite team. But I won’t pay to watch any other game. I also won’t pay for a season subscription unless it is heavily discounted because I am unable to watch every week.

  9. Boy I can’t wait to pay to see over priced no talent players who celebrate simply walking on the field, or owners who think they have a right to over charge us for it. This game is getting as bad as basketball who ever has the ball last wins.

  10. Here’s a crazy idea, only show commercials during official reviews, halftime, and at the end of each quarter and make the game actually watchable.

  11. I don’t get it. Why wait eight years to take advantage of the fact that millions of people are currently cutting cords, and that it might be possible to reach more fans by cutting out the cable/satellite corporate middlemen?

    A reasonably-priced internet subscription service would save me money over the long term, because I wouldn’t have to subscribe to cable or DirecThieVes.

  12. The NFL would shoot itself in the foot if it changed its television broadcasting format. Mark Cuban may yet be proven correct if the NFL goes pay-per-view.

  13. Whatever happens DirecThieVes will be increasing the cost of NFL Sunday Ticket.

    With AT&T buying them millions of DirecTV subscribers will be leaving them because their already TOO HIGH PRICES (I’m paying $160/month without NFL Sunday Ticket) will be beyond affordable or justifiable.

  14. There is a time when a company is passionate about making a great product…

    And then there is a time when a company becomes just passionate about making money…

    the NFL is in that second stage.

  15. I stopped getting The NFL Ticket because it cost $400 for the season PLUS $30 a month for the required basic service. So that’s $520. BUT 5-6 of my team’s games are regularly on network broadcast, so I was paying $56 to watch each non-televised games. I can go to the local sports bar and spend half of that.

    If the NFL really wants to cash in they should design a package where you can watch Pay Per View live broadcasts of games that aren’t on in your marked. They could charge $10-$20 per game and make a killing. Too many people are tired of paying $500 for the entire year.

    They could get $200 out of me with such a package, but not $500.

  16. When I have to start paying an additional fee over what I am already paying, that’s when I will stop watching.

  17. I’ll continue to pay for NFL Rewind, which is how I watch the NFL, given we do not have a TV.

    Why pay $120 per month for cable/dish when it’s $29 per year for my team’s 16 games? — plus we do not watch TV’s wasteland of programs.

    Equally important, why waste beautiful days indoors watching the NFL for 6 hours when it’s easier done at night at one’s leisure?

  18. The reason the NFL is looking to make money from the television viewer is simple – you’re the people who used to go to games, but are now priced out of the stadium experience and are sitting at home in front of a big flat-screen HDTV with food and drinks from a local supermarket/restaurant.

    You no longer pay for parking, tickets, a dog and a beer, programs, and souvenirs. The NFL wants to get that money from you again – it’s that cut-and-dried.

  19. Who cares? In 8 years they’ll be playing flag football, and having their legal counsel consult at halftime.

  20. All the people who said they could spend $2K on a TV to watch HD will be changing their tune in a few years. They need fans in seats too.

  21. I heard that somebody won the NBA Finals yesterday. I didn’t care about who won it. I could have watched the Finals, but since the NBA only broadcasted one or two regular season games a week, and broadcasted zero games during playoffs, I just don’t care who wins.

    It would be a shame if the same thing happens with the NFL. Can you imagine going to a friend’s Super Bowl party, and the only thing you cared about is the beer?

  22. In 8 years lord Goodell and his minions will have destroyed the NFL as they continue on their destructive path. Mark Cuban will be right. The fat hog will be slaughtered!

  23. They have to eliminate this home market monopoly. Allow more flexibility in choosing games.

    1) Popular teams like the Steelers and Packers will harvest much more NFL revenue than a region limited to a Bengals/viking game.

    2) People will choose rivalry games, playoff contenders, and interesting weather games over a late season game between a 3-9 team hosting a 5-7 team.

    3) Star match ups bring in huge revenue. A Marino v. Favre match up had everyone watching. A Manning v Rodgers game would have incredible ratings. Few would care about Ponder v Yates or Smith v. Gabbert matchup.

    Some classics like a Bears/Packers game will always have great prime time ratings as NBC has realized for years. Those will stand the test of time.

    Let the people choose the teams they want to watch!! That market will decide who the great teams are.

  24. Keep broadcasting on the regular TV networks and ESPN. Do away with games on NFL network. And sell any and all games to the fans on a per game basis charging a flat one-time fee of like $10 for a streaming HD telecast of the games. Imagine the potential. I could watch 3 out-of-market games on a Sunday and that’s $30 just from me. In ONE DAY! Multiply that by 17 weeks and include millions of Americans and you’ve got a winning internet option. If 11 million people watch just one game like that, the NFL would rake in $110 million dollars (not including any ad revenue featured during the game!) for just ONE game!!

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