The Secret Is Out: The Super Bowl Has Been On Cable For Years

Years ago a big cable TV executive, the late cable pioneer Bill Daniels, said he could envision the day when the Super Bowl would move to cable.  

I told him I've been watching the Super Bowl on cable for years -- that I've paid money to Time Warner, Cablevision Systems, Charter and other cable operators (DirecTV in recent years) to see the game. 

The problem for Daniels and other cable operators is that they never really saw having broadcasting channels as part of their value for consumers. It was just a necessity because of Federal laws requiring them to do so.

 It seems that big sporting events -- "Monday Night Football," the "Bowl Championship Series," and now the NCAA Men's basketball championship -- are now moving to  "cable." Turner's cable networks will get their first-ever shot with the NCAA in 2016.

It's just a business decision for media owners looking at the bottom line.

With the increasing push in getting retransmission dollars, broadcast networks and stations are finally getting money from cable operators - all due to their part in the TV equation in bringing in viewers, typically much more than cable networks. Sure, it's not nearly enough money -- and the move initially can be tough on local stations, especially on CBS affiliates that have been selling the advertising time locally in the NCAA tournament.

 But this doesn't mean there aren't opportunities there. TV stations still have a lot to offer when selling television locally - something the local cable guys still need. Perhaps future forward-thinking TV stations will be looking to do local cable advertising partnerships, maybe as part of their future retransmission deals.

The shifting of programming from broadcast to cable entities doesn't get as much outrage as it did in recent years. That's because we all know programming - especially high-priced programming -- needs more than just advertising sales to support it. That dual revenue stream of those monthly cable programming packages has been a key factor.

If I need to turn to channel 43 or 243 to see a game, it means just a few more buttons to be pushed. The NCAA Men's Championship game has been on cable for years. In five years' time, it'll still be on cable.

2 comments about "The Secret Is Out: The Super Bowl Has Been On Cable For Years".
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  1. Roger Furman from Voodoovox, April 26, 2010 at 2:04 p.m.

    people watch programms not cable or broadcast. As in the movie "build it and they will come". Why do you think cable networks added their little "id buttons" on the screen?

  2. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace, April 26, 2010 at 3:02 p.m.

    I Stopped watching Cable TV three years ago, and I had to stop watching ALL Programming this year. Why? Because the Advertising has become WAY TOO OFFENSIVE. During the Sporting events one cannot go 15 minutes without having an ad for something such as Viagra, Cialis, K-Y Jelly or some other "Adult Product" being tossed at you. The Broadcasters, Programmers and Advertisers don't care if Children are in front of the TV when these products are advertised, so I refuse to support them. If I want to know who won, there's always the Internet or the Newspaper.

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