NFL Sunday Ticket - Bidding War? Google, Apple... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 08-21-2013, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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http://www.thestreet.com/story/12015305/1/91video93-quick-take-google-makes-a-play-for-nfl-on-tv.html

Quick Take: Google Makes a Play for NFL on TV

BY Bret Kenwell | 08/21/13 - 01:55 PM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Rumors have recently surfaced that Google (GOOG_) is interested in the National Football League's Sunday Ticket package. The move could be huge, TheStreet's Chris Ciaccia tells Brittany Umar.
DIRECTV (DTV_) currently pays $1 billion each year for the broadcasting rights to the package, which runs through the 2014 season.
Google, which notoriously offers most of its services free, would certainly have to charge customers for a feature such as this.

Ciaccia said he would expect the company to stream the service on its YouTube platform and charge around $9.99 a month.
He added that he could see Google paying $2 billion or $3 billion for this service, likely far outbidding all other contenders. Well, except one.
Apple (AAPL_) has far more cash than Google, with $146 billion on its balance sheet.
Ciaccia went on to say that this could be a home run for Apple and would definitely bolster an iTV product from the tech giant. Essentially if CEO Tim Cook wanted it, he could probably get it.
Either way, no matter who walks away with the future rights to the NFL's Sunday Ticket package, it will be an enormous win for them, Ciaccia concluded
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post #2 of 29 Old 08-21-2013, 12:55 PM
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I'd love for Directv to lose this package.
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post #3 of 29 Old 08-22-2013, 06:01 AM
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NFL football on streaming only? That's a joke.
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post #4 of 29 Old 08-22-2013, 06:46 AM
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Tell that to Relativity Media (and its subsidiary Rogue Pictures),DreamWorks Animation (DreamWorks Animation, Open Road Films, FilmDistrict,The Weinstein Company,and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

They have exclusive pay tv rights with Netflix
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post #5 of 29 Old 08-22-2013, 09:44 AM
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Have to believe they will continue to maintain a non-streaming option. The amount of fans currently subscribed to Sunday Ticket and/or Red Zone that do not stream content is too large to lose.
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post #6 of 29 Old 08-22-2013, 10:09 AM
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I read a balanced interview with Mark Cuban where even he doubted Google or Apple could pull it off. People are used to and expect pristine HD Video quality and he doesn't think the current or near term infrastructure could support it. Some Bars/restaurants don't even have a Cable modem connection available to them. Think of the commercial market at a Sports Bar that is currently showing 8 early games at 10 AM in HD. How much band-width would that Bar need to have to show the 8 plus the transition time as a few games always run late at 1pm, and then stream the late games.
[I'm on the W. Coast]. Say 11 games at 1 time, most Bars have at least 15 HD Direc receivers running, there is usually Golf, Nascar and other sports also on. How will a Bar Blend the current satellite offerings, and the New Google set-ups?? How can a guy sitting in his living room do it???
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post #7 of 29 Old 08-22-2013, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Ray Lucca View Post

I read a balanced interview with Mark Cuban where even he doubted Google or Apple could pull it off. People are used to and expect pristine HD Video quality and he doesn't think the current or near term infrastructure could support it. Some Bars/restaurants don't even have a Cable modem connection available to them. Think of the commercial market at a Sports Bar that is currently showing 8 early games at 10 AM in HD. How much band-width would that Bar need to have to show the 8 plus the transition time as a few games always run late at 1pm, and then stream the late games.
[I'm on the W. Coast]. Say 11 games at 1 time, most Bars have at least 15 HD Direc receivers running, there is usually Golf, Nascar and other sports also on. How will a Bar Blend the current satellite offerings, and the New Google set-ups?? How can a guy sitting in his living room do it???
I think that's the biggest issue right there: the infrastructure.

The only ones who have pipes big enough for multiple streams of HD are the providers themselves. By the time it gets to the customer, there's simply not enough overhead to provide for that many streams without dramatic loss in quality.

That's where the linear technologies are better. Those same dozen games are sent to a lot of locations and it doesn't matter how many locations there are, the bandwidth is the same. It's just frequencies and tuners. In fact, those linear technologies rely on the economies of scale: the more viewers, the less cost.

That's the opposite of how IP networks work: every single viewer uses bandwidth for every single event they wish to view. The more viewers, the more cost.

Plus, unlike the buildout of the linear systems that is controlled completely by the provider, IP technologies are at the mercy of the slowest point in the chain. That means if one router, server or patch along the way slows down, everything slows down.

Sure, with cable, a pole could get knocked down. With satellite, bad weather could interrupt the signal. However, those events are rare compared to data issues among the thousands of devices your stream touches along the way to your destination - and very few of those devices belong to you, either. That means, you're at the mercy of everyone else's stuff for high value content.

Plus, as was noted, few sports bars are going to have anything close to a high end internet access connection. Heck, some places still dial in for credit card transactions. The idea that they would have anything close to able to stream multiple HD games is fantasy for most places.

Having said that, Mark Cuban has been wrong things before when it comes to HD. He once said that cable and satellite systems would likely not have the bandwidth to support a large number of HD channels for a long time. It was less than five years later, the HD explosion happened. The result was, HDNet quickly outgrew its name.

He was also wrong about demand for powdered milk, too.... wink.gif


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post #8 of 29 Old 08-22-2013, 04:20 PM
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Play action pass.

Brady is back, he's got Welker open.

.. Buffering ...

&$7@!!!!

Not happening.
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post #9 of 29 Old 08-23-2013, 05:12 AM
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Keep in mind just because a Google or Apple buys the rights doesn't mean it's only available streaming.  They could very easily license it out to cable/sat providers so DirecTV could still offer NFL Sunday Ticket for example they would just pay Google instead of the NFL directly.  This would also open it up that Google could also sell the broadcast rights to Comcast and Time Warner as well.  Or work with the NFL to create a PPV structure (which the NFL wants badly) which is then offered by cable and sat providers.

 

Just because an Internet company buys the rights doesn't mean it's only available streaming.


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post #10 of 29 Old 08-23-2013, 05:13 AM
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I pay for the NFL's preseason package which is streamed because it's the only way I can get my team's games live and it's a good picture but the action is a little jerky. It's nowhere near the picture you get in a regular TV broadcast.
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post #11 of 29 Old 08-23-2013, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bonscott87 View Post

Keep in mind just because a Google or Apple buys the rights doesn't mean it's only available streaming.  They could very easily license it out to cable/sat providers so DirecTV could still offer NFL Sunday Ticket for example they would just pay Google instead of the NFL directly.  This would also open it up that Google could also sell the broadcast rights to Comcast and Time Warner as well.  Or work with the NFL to create a PPV structure (which the NFL wants badly) which is then offered by cable and sat providers.

Just because an Internet company buys the rights doesn't mean it's only available streaming.
Under your idea, the NFL gets more money from D* submitting a "we want it all" bid.

If Google or Apple doesn't end up with a locked down package, there's no way they'll want to bid anything near that high.

The big money is in the rarity.


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post #12 of 29 Old 08-23-2013, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by barth2k View Post

Play action pass.

Brady is back, he's got Welker open.

.. Buffering ...

&$7@!!!!

Not happening.

Welker plays for the broncos now so yea that scenario is not happening.

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post #13 of 29 Old 08-23-2013, 02:56 PM
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Welker plays for the broncos now so yea that scenario is not happening.
Maybe it's still bufering from last season...


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post #14 of 29 Old 08-23-2013, 04:32 PM
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Maybe it's still bufering from last season...

My monitor thanks you for that smile.gif.

While streaming would be nice it's not ready for prime time yet, especially at that level.

I'm a 'hooker' and a knitter. I guess that makes me bi-stitchual :).
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post #15 of 29 Old 08-26-2013, 08:16 AM
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Couldn't Google be the top bidder to the rights and then sub-licensing to various cable and satellite outlets for normal television broadcasts while they do the online/streaming distribution?

Then If I were trying to push the most profitable model I'd sell sub-licensing to each provider for like $100M and pay for nearly the entire bid right there and collect nothing but profit on the streaming side with a discounted season package compared to the cable package costs. Give the customer a choice - $300 for the satellite/cable version or $150 for the streaming version.

Make money both ways, open up markets and drive the switch to streaming for the value, etc. Providers could discount it to create competition and gain subscriptions but they still have to make up the difference themselves back to Google.

 

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post #16 of 29 Old 08-26-2013, 08:31 AM
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You can be sure that whoever the "Top Bidder" turns out to be, in the end the NFL is going to maintain strict control over any sub-licensing or redistribution agreements. If there are going to be both streaming AND broadcast, the NFL will independently license each. The NFL is not known for leaving money on the table . . .

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You can be sure that whoever the "Top Bidder" turns out to be, in the end the NFL is going to maintain strict control over any sub-licensing or redistribution agreements. If there are going to be both streaming AND broadcast, the NFL will independently license each. The NFL is not known for leaving money on the table . . .

Every [good] license has built in a sub-license caveats and/or restrictions that ensures royalties flow back to the original licensee for every instance of permitted sub-licensing. The NFL would indeed get it's cut.

 

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post #18 of 29 Old 08-27-2013, 07:28 PM
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Couldn't Google be the top bidder to the rights and then sub-licensing to various cable and satellite outlets for normal television broadcasts while they do the online/streaming distribution?

Then If I were trying to push the most profitable model I'd sell sub-licensing to each provider for like $100M and pay for nearly the entire bid right there and collect nothing but profit on the streaming side with a discounted season package compared to the cable package costs. Give the customer a choice - $300 for the satellite/cable version or $150 for the streaming version.

Make money both ways, open up markets and drive the switch to streaming for the value, etc. Providers could discount it to create competition and gain subscriptions but they still have to make up the difference themselves back to Google.

 

Yep, exactly what I was saying.  Google (or Apple) could easily outbid DirecTV with their lunch money pocket change.  Then they can license it out (including back to DirecTV) and turn a profit pretty quickly.


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post #19 of 29 Old 08-29-2013, 08:57 AM
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Yep, exactly what I was saying.  Google (or Apple) could easily outbid DirecTV with their lunch money pocket change.  Then they can license it out (including back to DirecTV) and turn a profit pretty quickly.

Possibly but Google doesn't really have the infrastructure to support such a method to provide content to cable/sat providers so there would some costs involved. I think at this point, the NFL at the very least is going to take away the exclusive streaming rights from Directv (or whoever wins the package). It is even possible the NFL will control the streaming rights themselves like they do with preseason and then get deals with Google/Apple TV/etc to provide it on their platforms.
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post #20 of 29 Old 08-29-2013, 06:54 PM
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Possibly but Google doesn't really have the infrastructure to support such a method to provide content to cable/sat providers so there would some costs involved. I think at this point, the NFL at the very least is going to take away the exclusive streaming rights from Directv (or whoever wins the package). It is even possible the NFL will control the streaming rights themselves like they do with preseason and then get deals with Google/Apple TV/etc to provide it on their platforms.
What motivation would the NFL have to "take away" D*'s exclusive? If D* is willing to pay for it, that's good enough for them.

They won't get anywhere as much money with as little fuss on their part if someone doesn't get the sole rights.

Further, the NFL isn't going to want to stream it, either, unless it's their own network games. That requires money. The NFL will let whoever pays the most for the rights take on the expense of it.

The only way D* loses the package exclusivity is if they opt not to bid enough to get it. D* pays the NFL more money than anyone else is willing to pay for the rights, then takes on all the distrubtion expenses to boot. Why would the NFL ever want to screw that arrangement up?
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post #21 of 29 Old 08-29-2013, 09:53 PM
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The only way D* loses the package exclusivity is if they opt not to bid enough to get it. D* pays the NFL more money than anyone else is willing to pay for the rights, then takes on all the distrubtion expenses to boot. Why would the NFL ever want to screw that arrangement up?

I'm not so sure the NFL ST package is worth it to Directv anymore. I don't think they are going to be coming close to what the NFL wants for it. So you may see the NFL get rid of the exclusive contract. With the ability to sell this to traditional providers and to streaming providers, the NFL ST package may be more valuable by providing it to all willing providers not just one. And in this case, I'm not so sure exclusivity is really the most profitable for the NFL.
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post #22 of 29 Old 08-30-2013, 06:39 PM
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I'm not so sure the NFL ST package is worth it to Directv anymore. I don't think they are going to be coming close to what the NFL wants for it. So you may see the NFL get rid of the exclusive contract. With the ability to sell this to traditional providers and to streaming providers, the NFL ST package may be more valuable by providing it to all willing providers not just one. And in this case, I'm not so sure exclusivity is really the most profitable for the NFL.
The point is, if D* wants that exclusivity, they'll bid accordingly and the NFL will happily take their money and move on. It's far easier and more profitable for them than messing around with multiple parties. In other words, this all depends on how much D* wants it.

If they don't make the big bid, then it's up for grabs. Until that situation occurs, though...


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post #23 of 29 Old 09-01-2013, 10:54 PM
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The point is, if D* wants that exclusivity, they'll bid accordingly and the NFL will happily take their money and move on. It's far easier and more profitable for them than messing around with multiple parties. In other words, this all depends on how much D* wants it.

If they don't make the big bid, then it's up for grabs. Until that situation occurs, though...

Is it more profitable though? Let's put this in another context. If it is more profitable to simply sell NFL rights to FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN than to broadcast the games themselves and sell advertising, then why does the NFL now have a Thursday game on NFL Network every week of the season? Is it because maybe, just maybe, the NFL is such a juggernaut in the US that it's more money in their pockets if they do a broadcast versus having to give up that game to FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN?

Here is what I am suggesting the NFL is working towards: in 10-15 years there will be no games on FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN. The NFL will broadcast all of its games. In a local market, each week you will get the same 2-4 games you normally get on Sunday afternoons (plus Sunday evening and Monday evening), but you must watch them on one of the NFL Network channels on cable/sat, with the exception of your local team's game which will be retransmitted via OTA (much like when a local team is on cable now and gets retransmitted via OTA). NFL Sunday ticket will be a package offered by the NFL that you buy through your cable/sat to watch out of market games on Sunday afternoons, or maybe the NFL does away with the Sunday Ticket concept altogether and makes all games avail to anyone with approp. cable/sat sub (or perhaps NFL PPV).

If the NFL was so content on just selling rights and letting others take risks, it wouldn't retain any rights to broadcast games. That it does is a continuing experiment (IMHO) towards one day keeping all broadcast rights in-house, because this is the NFL, and in the US if you say all the games are on NFL Network, people will watch and advertisers will pay. Not to mention the NFL Network can then demand outrageous sums of money from cable/sat companies and hold them hostage if they don't meet their terms. In this way, NFL could make Sunday Ticket "free" on cable and make all cable/sat customers pay for the ticket because of how much cable/sat pay for NFL Network, which is in turn passed to all customers.

I don't think other sports in the US could pull this off and make money, but the NFL can, and maybe even make more money than just selling the rights.
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post #24 of 29 Old 09-02-2013, 08:19 AM
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then why does the NFL now have a Thursday game on NFL Network every week of the season?

Nope....they have a 13 game package so they skip weeks 1,13,16,17.

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post #25 of 29 Old 09-02-2013, 11:50 AM
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Nope....they have a 13 game package so they skip weeks 1,13,16,17.

NBC has Thursday night games Weeks 1 & 13 (Thanksgiving). Only Weeks 16 & 17 don't have Thursday games.

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post #26 of 29 Old 09-02-2013, 12:00 PM
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NBC has Thursday night games Weeks 1 & 13 (Thanksgiving). Only Weeks 16 & 17 don't have Thursday games.

Right but he said NFLN has a game every thursday & as you mentioned weeks 1 & 13 are NBC not NFLN so its no NFLN weeks 1,13,16,17.

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post #27 of 29 Old 09-03-2013, 08:20 AM
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Right but he said NFLN has a game every thursday & as you mentioned weeks 1 & 13 are NBC not NFLN so its no NFLN weeks 1,13,16,17.

Fair enough, but my point/prediction/whatever you want to call it still stands.
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post #28 of 29 Old 09-03-2013, 10:03 AM
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Is it more profitable though? Let's put this in another context. If it is more profitable to simply sell NFL rights to FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN than to broadcast the games themselves and sell advertising, then why does the NFL now have a Thursday game on NFL Network every week of the season? Is it because maybe, just maybe, the NFL is such a juggernaut in the US that it's more money in their pockets if they do a broadcast versus having to give up that game to FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN?

Here is what I am suggesting the NFL is working towards: in 10-15 years there will be no games on FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN. The NFL will broadcast all of its games. In a local market, each week you will get the same 2-4 games you normally get on Sunday afternoons (plus Sunday evening and Monday evening), but you must watch them on one of the NFL Network channels on cable/sat, with the exception of your local team's game which will be retransmitted via OTA (much like when a local team is on cable now and gets retransmitted via OTA). NFL Sunday ticket will be a package offered by the NFL that you buy through your cable/sat to watch out of market games on Sunday afternoons, or maybe the NFL does away with the Sunday Ticket concept altogether and makes all games avail to anyone with approp. cable/sat sub (or perhaps NFL PPV).

If the NFL was so content on just selling rights and letting others take risks, it wouldn't retain any rights to broadcast games. That it does is a continuing experiment (IMHO) towards one day keeping all broadcast rights in-house, because this is the NFL, and in the US if you say all the games are on NFL Network, people will watch and advertisers will pay. Not to mention the NFL Network can then demand outrageous sums of money from cable/sat companies and hold them hostage if they don't meet their terms. In this way, NFL could make Sunday Ticket "free" on cable and make all cable/sat customers pay for the ticket because of how much cable/sat pay for NFL Network, which is in turn passed to all customers.

I don't think other sports in the US could pull this off and make money, but the NFL can, and maybe even make more money than just selling the rights.

I don't see it happening that way, but I bet we see an end to "regional coverage". I see FOX/CBC/NBC/ESPN holding onto broadcast rights, only they will mostly air games on cable. With Fox launching FS1 and FS2 plus Comcast really going all out to make NBC Sports a major player, the next step is to air NFL games on their respective cable channels. They'll be more late afternoon (4:25 EST) games, and possibly even multiple Sunday night games. NFL Network will probably air 1 early and 1 late afternoon game each Sunday (the dog that no one wants), in weeks with no byes. In addition they'll sell local broadcast rights to the highest bidder in each market. I think that's how the NFL maximizes their profits, by getting everyone in the US with cable/DBS to pay yet higher and higher subscription fees for sports channels (who in turn pay the NFL more money), not making all games PPV or PPSeason to those who will pay. I realize I'm basically agreeing with you here, just that the NFL will do it indirectly.
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post #29 of 29 Old 09-03-2013, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by pappy97 View Post

Is it more profitable though? Let's put this in another context. If it is more profitable to simply sell NFL rights to FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN than to broadcast the games themselves and sell advertising, then why does the NFL now have a Thursday game on NFL Network every week of the season? Is it because maybe, just maybe, the NFL is such a juggernaut in the US that it's more money in their pockets if they do a broadcast versus having to give up that game to FOX/CBS/NBC/ESPN?
In the case of ESPN? They absolutely make more money selling it.

They make far more off them running games that they ever will on their own - and that will eventually cause them to make more money than ever off Fox, CBS and NBC as they all bid even higher to ensure ESPN and the NFL Network aren't the only places to watch football.

As to why the NFL Network has that weekly game, it's simple: what else are they going to show that would get them carriage on the MSOs? They need that game to get placement on those all important regular tiers on cable and satellite systems. If they end up in some extra sports pack, they lose a ton of potential audience and a ton of potential carriage fees.

On the other hand, if they have a game each week, that becomes enough to get their place at the table.

They didn't put that weekly game on their own network because it's more profitable. They put it on there to create demand for the channel and to raise the price for everyone else by creating an artificial rarity of games to broadcast.


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