Will Pay TV Sports Fans Consider Cord-Cutting?

Who are those high-paying pay TV customers? Might they be sports fans and/or those who are buying one or two SVOD services?

Then again, maybe they are sports fans on a budget.

For years, a huge section of the pay TV buyer market have said they don’t want to pay for big sports program-carrying TV networks. They figure sports are a big piece of the package when it comes to the higher subscriber retail price for a typical, legacy cable, satellite or telco package that is running $100 to $150 a month.

But now, with Verizon’s $2.5 billion deal with the NFL, anyone can get NFL games on their phones through apps including Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Verizon’s go90 app and the NFL’s mobile app. That means customers of other wireless carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint can watch their local team plays.

With Verizon’s previous package, only those Verizon network customers could get NFL games on mobile devices. (Tablet viewing of the games through a Verizon deal is coming.)



Cord-cutters for the NFL? That doesn’t sound right. Think about the avid NFL TV fan who pays for DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package. It can run $250 to $300 per season, in addition to the cost of pay TV packages.

So all this is good news, right? New media platforms and sports TV viewers gain? Yes and no. It could get more complicated.

For the next round of negotiations with the big TV broadcasters -- those who pay the bulk of the NFL yearly TV rights fees -- the league is mulling the idea of airing TV games on the internet. 

Is your head swimming? Remember that in addition to all this, Amazon, early this year, started airing “Thursday Night Football” games on its Amazon Prime video internet platform, which is simulcast with live airings of the games CBS or NBC and/or NFL Network. You just need to be an Amazon Prime customer.

What is Verizon’s financial game? To make a lot of revenue on advertising on those mobile apps that will now have a much wider audience, since games are carried on many mobile networks.

In addition, Verizon has more scale in terms of games -- broadcasting in-market live contests, including pre-season, regular season, playoff and Super Bowl games.

Cord-cutting probably won’t be in the marketing material for Verizon, as its effort start with the playoffs in early 2018. But sports fans may look for a deal, anyway.

2 comments about "Will Pay TV Sports Fans Consider Cord-Cutting?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 13, 2017 at 10:09 a.m.

    Wayne, sports is not the only reason why people subscribe to wired cable, telco or satellite distribution services. There are many other kinds of content---news, kid shows, game shows, dramas, movies, reality shows, etc.---involved. Also, in most cases sports is bundled in with all of the rest, so if somebody wanted to save money by "cutting the cord" and getting sports, "free", via streaming, this would involve eliminating 85-90% of the other things that this person watches on a regular basis. Very few people only watch sports and those that do must be a pretty strange breed, indeed.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 14, 2017 at 8:40 p.m.

    Disney bought fox entertainment and ESPN is not the big draw it once was, so....

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