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.