Cardinals president says digital distribution of NFL games is the future

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The NFL’s major media partners remain the traditional television networks of NBC, CBS and FOX, the cable network ESPN and the satellite provider DirecTV. But it’s only a matter of time before an online distributor also becomes a major media partner of the NFL.

That’s the word from Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, who said today on PFT Live that he expects an online video distributor like Amazon, Netflix or YouTube will some day out-bid the traditional television companies to broadcast NFL games.

“There’s no doubt it’s coming,” Bidwill said. “The question is how we transition into it. What we need to do is do a great job of listening to our fans about how they want to consume NFL content. Our fans are switching to digital, they’re switching to handheld and mobile devices, and we want to respond to that.”

The Cardinals teamed with Amazon for the new documentary series All or Nothing, which debuts July 1 on Amazon Prime. Bidwill is excited about the way that series can help the team draw fans from outside Arizona.

“This was a great way for us to tell our story across the country,” he said. “We want to expand our footprint, expand our fan base.”

Eventually, the NFL hopes to expand the fan base around the world, and the path to doing that will be broadcasting games online.

39 responses to “Cardinals president says digital distribution of NFL games is the future

  1. More lunacy from the Global NFL mindset. Yes, in a world of big screen 4k TVs just made for watching sports, people are going to want to watch the NFL on their phones. MAKES SENSE TO ME!!!!!

  2. Didn’t yahoo stream a game last year? This isn’t a bold statement it’s a given. The question is when will they make the full time switch. Even if it’s the Cable channels that finally realize cable is dead and move to streaming.

  3. Study the demise of professional boxing and you will understand why leaving network television is a horrible idea.

  4. Other countries love soccer , even with the corrupt FIFA. I don’t see them suffering two fools though. Sorry Roger, you ego and lack of integrity probably cost you an audience that may have played well with fans tired of the corrupt FIFA, but why would they choose the corrupt NFL as a replacement?

  5. It would be about time… Directv has a had a hold on this for way too long. It would be great if you could get “Just” the teams you want to see and not the whole ticket.

  6. The only functional difference between “online” distribution and a cable provider is a set-top box, so Bidwell isn’t exactly Nostradamus. The gating factor is charging consumers. TV gets its revenue from an ad structure that so far advertisers have resisted online. CPM revenue is orders of magnitude higher on broadcast TV than online. In turn broadcasters understand live sports is the only consistent compelling content they own that viewers will tune in live and hence not able to fast-forward through commercials.

    Directly charging consumers like DirecTV does for its Prime Ticket package or like PPV does with the UFC only has limited appeal to the NFL and will never replace broadcast-level revenue. Expect the NFL’s first step to expand a Prime Ticket-like service to devices, with logins and device limitations built into the service.

    As for global, most of the world uses a pay-as-you-go system for both Internet and mobile devices. Which means watching high quality streaming video costs the consumer on top of any subscription charges.

    In short the challenges are all financial and will likely mean online distribution will remain a supplemental option until the Broadcasters are effectively second-tier content providers. In other words, when NBC, Fox or CBS eventually make the same move as Netflix did in focusing solely on online distribution, that’s when the NFL will finally be fully online.

  7. I get Sunday Ticket every year but I wish I could just buy my favorite team’s game and not have to get the whole package. I hope that monopoly crumbles soon. Single game purchases…now that’s the ticket!

  8. “There’s no doubt that digital is coming,” Bidwill said. “The question is how we make a humongous pile of money from it.”

  9. Stree ……….….eee ………….ammmm ……..…….ing vi….deeeeee….oooooo is soooo..oooooo awwwww …………………………..………………………………………sommmmmmme.

  10. Making a 400+ million a year isn’t enough? The greedy owners will kill the goose that lays their golden eggs.

  11. I think some commenters in here don’t realize that you can stream amazon/netflix/hulu through your TV now. I would love for them to switch over. The only reason I even have cable anymore is that regional sports networks aren’t available except with expanded cable packages.

  12. >”channelguy says:
    Jun 29, 2016 7:44 AM
    More lunacy from the Global NFL mindset. Yes, in a world of big screen 4k TVs just made for watching sports, people are going to want to watch the NFL on their phones. MAKES SENSE TO ME!!!!!”

    Just because it doesn’t apply to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to others.

    Streaming is perfect for me. Anything I watch goes HDMI-out from my PC to my 46″ TV. Perfect? No. But that’s how I’m set up. Streaming works just fine for me- especially since I’m not home most of the time when the games are broadcast.

  13. More lunacy from the Global NFL mindset. Yes, in a world of big screen 4k TVs just made for watching sports, people are going to want to watch the NFL on their phones. MAKES SENSE TO ME!!!!!
    ———————————-
    You stream the game through your phone to your TV in full HD. Welcome to 2016.

  14. As long as I can watch the games on my HUUUUUUUGE 4k tv in crystal clear HD and at a reasonable price I’ll still be pissed that the NFL tried to reinvent the wheel. Fix that which isn’t broken. Ya I’m an old fart and hate change but like a previous poster said, I too remember the popularity of boxing on broadcast tv. But hey, these owners are billionaires and every penny counts so it’s their choice. BTW, get off my lawn!

  15. I have no desire to watch any sports game on a phone or tablet. i also dont want to have to watch it thru an app. half the time you watch netflix, hulu, amazon, etc its buffering or playing in SD because for some reason its struggling to play in HD.

  16. I certainly hope so, the way Fios packages the stations together, and makes you sign up for 2 year commitments you have to pay a huge wad of money to watch every NFL game. I would much rather cut the cord and pay per show watched, Id probably save 100$ a month since I dont watch much TV.

  17. Something needs to break down the monopoly that DirecTV has on the NFL games. Many of us live in areas where the local team isn’t the team that we root for. It blows my mind how DirecTV is allowed to be the only provider. Where’s the competition?

  18. Uh, it appears that some people commenting here are still watching SD broadcasts on the rabbit ears.

    But, when you take into account most of the comments on this site, it’s not all that surprising.

  19. honkeyt says:
    Jun 29, 2016 8:30 AM

    I get Sunday Ticket every year but I wish I could just buy my favorite team’s game and not have to get the whole package. I hope that monopoly crumbles soon. Single game purchases…now that’s the ticket!
    _______________________________

    Totally agree. However, they know that until they change that, fans like you and I are going to continue to buy the whole thing, anyways. At this point, I don’t even know why I get it anymore, as I’d just as soon Uber it to the bar, where it’s more fun to watch with other people.

  20. We cut the cord this Spring and my only concern has been loss of some NFL content. Hope they get options out there quickly!

    And I can’t wait to watch the Amazon “All or Nothing” series releasing on Friday. Promos are looking awesome.

  21. Real football fans don’t watch games in bars, on their phones or their computers.

    That’s for casual fans.

  22. haterade999 says:
    Jun 29, 2016 10:23 AM

    Uh, it appears that some people commenting here are still watching SD broadcasts on the rabbit ears.

    But, when you take into account most of the comments on this site, it’s not all that surprising.
    —————————

    I’m watching HD broadcasts on the rabbit ears.

  23. guyljr says:
    Jun 29, 2016 8:13 AM

    Study the demise of professional boxing and you will understand why leaving network television is a horrible idea.
    ———————–

    You don’t need to look at boxing, you can just look at the demise of Monday Night Football.

  24. Not buying Prime to watch All or Nothing.

    The problem is, cable holds the reigns and people pay a ton for it. Raise your hand if you are currently paying $200-$300 a month for Cable + Internet.

    There is a shakeup coming, but people want the NFL for free. Nothing additional then they already pay. People don’t want to buy Prime or subscribe to Netflix for NFL.

    You’re still going to need cable tv, and streams are notoriously wonky. They also eat up your bandwidth. Who here wants to use up their data cap watching the NFL in 4k? I sure and the hell don’t.

    It’s one thing given a mobile phone option, but not at home with a TV. (Especially not after that awful 140p viewing experience stream they had as a test last year. Horrible quality. Some people were unaffected, others were watching something like a 1929 test of TV technology.

    If given the choice I’ll use the method that doesn’t touch my data usage, nor have bad streaming problems.

    What the NFL NEEDS to do, is give us the All-22 option to view games. All these channels have additional channels. On one channel give us the regular broadcast, on the secondary channel give us the All-22 view. That’s what is needed.

    This also isn’t good for ESPN, the network that costs almost as much on your cable bill as basically HBO or some other premium. Of course it’s hidden in ‘basic’ cable fees, but it’s there.

  25. Taking the full slate of games digital will not happen until they can figure out a way to do that and not jeopardize their anti trust exemption. That will entail upping their political ‘contributions’ considerably once the modelling shows it will be profitable enough then it will happen

  26. jmc8888 says:
    Jun 29, 2016 12:36 PM

    Not buying Prime to watch All or Nothing.

    The problem is, cable holds the reigns and people pay a ton for it. Raise your hand if you are currently paying $200-$300 a month for Cable + Internet.
    ——-

    I’m a lot closer to $300 than $200, and am presently looking to see how I can cut that back some. I asked about getting rid of the phone landline part of the package, and that would actually cost more. More $ for less. Go figure.

    Anyway…..the greed of all of these entities is making it easier for me to get to the point of walking away from it all.

    Might be time to start focusing on some of those bucket list items.

  27. “There’s no doubt it’s coming,” Bidwill said. “…Our fans are switching to digital”

    This is a man who clearly does not understand what he’s talking about.

    All network affiliates across the United States shut down their analog transmitters on June 12, 2009, providing only digital transmissions.

    Long before that shut down date, no electronics store in the U.S. sold analog televisions anymore: they all sold exclusively digital televisions.

    Your fans made the switch to digital a loooong time ago, Bidwell.

  28. Come on guys, you don’t use DATA to stream, you use YOUR WIFI, or your Neighbors…get a box, Roku, Apple, Chromecaset, whatever, it’s easy as pie.

    I’m 72 and I figured it out, you Digital Generation folks sure as hell ought to be able to do it.

  29. $99 to stream every game that would have been on Sunday Ticket. Keep the Ticket for people who prefer to make it part of their sat rig. Just add new subscribers at an internet-friendly price.

  30. If you don’t already have a smart TV you can make it one with a $20 device you plug into your hdmi port. I’m sure the NFL will make their own “app” to sell their product (which they already do to some extent). Then they can sell games to Hulu, Amazon, Netflix and since these are paid subscriptions they could play the Red Zone during commercial breaks. The biggest drawback of watching MLB through AtBat is the silence during commercial breaks. The MLB should be playing the MLB channel or highlights during their breaks.

  31. They have to get a viable NFL Network option for Roku users. We have Sling TV which now has up to 100 channels including the ESPN and Fox Sports families. But, we died without Redzone last year after leaving Dish. But, we save $50 a month on TV.

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