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Will Streaming Benefit or Hurt the NFL?

(Photo: CNET)

There is probably no better bond or love story in America than sports and people. When it comes to the National Football League (NFL), heavy sums of money are spread around, including tickets to the multiple stadiums, jerseys for fans to claim, concessions to eat while watching the games, and especially the contracts and endorsement deals that go towards the athletes. However, the NFL has a new source and plan of revenue to seek monetary gain from. In fact, this new discovery is none other than the use of streaming devices and networks in order to have more fans to watch the beloved sport. But does this truly help the fans in the long run, or can this be seen as a greedy tactic to create more money and therefore hurt the brand? That’s a question that might cause a small divide.

Back in April 2023, NFL Sunday Ticket, which has been used on DirecTV to watch all games for a price of over $300, found a new home on the streaming platform of YouTubeTV. Yet, the prices to watch NFL Sunday Ticket on YoutubeTV ranges from $249 to $389 depending on the package fans want to have in their homes, as well as needing to pay about $73 per month just to sign up for streaming the cable service; not to mention Peacock (NBC’s own streaming service) has given the NFL over $110 million to stream Sunday Night games and 2 exclusive games (one being a playoff game) this year. The NFL also announced in 2022 that they are receiving one billion dollars a year from Amazon Prime to feature Thursday night games. So if you add up all of those dollars, it may not be surprising as to why so many streaming platforms are able to receive NFL games.

While the future of sports, TV shows, and movies as a whole may be exclusive to streaming platforms at this rate, one may wonder how this will affect the fans and consumers who love and watch the sport as much as possible. In the past and even currently, the NFL broadcasted games on local channels such as FOX, NBC, CBS, ESPN/ABC, and the NFL Network. But with Thursday night games moving from NFL Network to PrimeVideo, Sunday Night games being shared between NBC and Peacock, and now the Sunday Ticket being moved from DirecTV to YouTubeTV, one could argue that the football league is slowly transitioning to becoming a streaming only platform. Many fans on social media outlets are even discussing how the NFL is patronizing deals and money over people who watch their product. There are a number of fans who can only afford so much and rely on the local networks to broadcast the games because they aren’t able to pay for streaming platforms.

Furthermore, it can be seen or imagined that the NFL will benefit from this measure of putting games on streaming platforms money wise due to the deals that have been reached. Fans who truly love to watch football will most likely find ways to pay for streaming platforms in order to continue to watch their favorite teams and players clash on the field. Yet, it will be interesting to see how many fans they may lose due to not everybody being fortunate to afford these streaming platforms, with others not being able to afford cable as it is. With the news of inflation going up again, there is a question if some fans who own these streaming platforms are able to pay for them in the long run due to prices increasing. Only time will tell if football and these fans can stay connected or if they lose connection, literally, in the recent case of YouTubeTV having Wi-Fi issues with broadcasting the NBA playoffs. Of course, that’s another story for another day.

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