Future Of Sports On Pay TV: Buying It Per Sport, Season Or Weekend?

Worried about the future of sports TV, including how high consumer fees will go?  

Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia event, Bob Iger, chairman/chief executive officer of Walt Disney Company, said: “We think where the market could be going in terms of some of these sports is being able to buy it very, very selectively.” For example, buying “a specific sport, maybe even for a specific season or a specific date or a specific weekend.”

This is already starting to happen now. For DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, where consumers can view every NFL game in the regular season, the  cost can range between $270 and $360depending on the package. Other big leagues have similar big all-encompassing packages.

NBC Sports recently launched NBC Sports Gold, a stand-alone streaming service, for individual sports. For example, this past summer, starting with the Tour de France in July, NBC Sports Gold Cycling subscription, with an introductory price of $29.99, includes a number of cycling events for an entire year.



All this new-media disruption won’t affect the biggest televised sports events in the U.S. — the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Playoffs — any time in the near term.

If Disney isn’t worried about its big-revenue ESPN brand, it’s because it’s imagining a number of ESPN-brand micro-channels -- per sport, season, or otherwise -- as well as new kinds of businesses.

You can see this as perhaps a way to counter complaints by pay TV providers who shell out high wholesale per-subscriber fees for the likes of ESPN and other sports cable networks.

Sports TV a la carte is coming.

1 comment about "Future Of Sports On Pay TV: Buying It Per Sport, Season Or Weekend?".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, September 22, 2016 at 10:48 p.m.

    "Sports TV a la carte is coming."   The fact is that it's been here ever since the first ball was hit, kicked or tossed, if not on the provider side.  But certainly on the viewer/fan side.  Only a relatively small percentage of team-sports fans watch or even care about any "other" teams, unless they are playing "their team."  For anyone involved in sports programming, at any level, to ignore that obvious fact is either incredibly dense, or incredibly clever.  

    They offer, and we pay for, an entire season's package of every college basketball game played, even though we'll only watch games involving "our team", until the NCAA championships begin. Even then, viewership takes a dive if the only teams involved are not Big Schools.

    And even when our favorite teams are being televised, the insane black-out rules often prevent us from watching, at any price.  That's just plain nuts. Take my money! ...please!

    In a perfect world, we'd be able to watch any team, in any sport, from anywhere on the planet, live, at an a la carte - and fair - price.  I'd bet that those in charge of such things would be very surprised to see just how large those audiences would be.

    "Provide it, and they will pay", or something like that.

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