So the NFL has managed top sell off the WORST game of the entire schedule, in London, at 9 a.m., for a reported $20 MILLION to Yahoo!
Oh, and the only two markets that MIGHT give a crap about that game – Jacksonville and Buffalo – aren’t included. Those markets get to just turn on the TV.
Now that’s a sweet trick the shield has pulled off. A virtual on-line bidding war, for football games that are getting more and more overexposed by the year. Google, Amazon, and Apple were all supposedly bidding against Yahoo for these rights. All of them have more money to waste on things like Matt Cassell vs. Blake Bortles!
So let’s see, Yahoo is willing to pay for this game so they get “eyeballs” and “increased traffic?” Are they going to be allowed to sell their own ads on-top of the CBS package that will be seen on OTA TV?
How many people does Yahoo! think are going to care about this game?
I would bet a Grumpy Cat Very Special Catsmas would get as many eyeballs, and cost well south of $20 million. But what do I know, right? I mean Yahoo! is the company that’s paying $5 MILLION a year to Katie Couric to produce web interviews that aren’t even coming close to making money.
I understand that TV and the web are merging by the day, but this smells like bad business for Yahoo! in the short run, and perhaps the NFL in the long run. Yahoo! won’t make money on this game, and I’d bet against them winning any sort of bidding war for an “on-line Sunday Ticket” with the likes of Google and Apple.
Meanwhile, the NFL is risking further marginalization of its product. If Jags-Bills from London can rob a bank for $20M in broad daylight, what about the temptation to see what Pittsburgh-Green Bay might make to offer it up only in the web? $50M? $100M?
Maybe, and it would be a relatively easy money grab.
But it would also peel away all of the casual viewers that the NFL is absolutely KING at brining to the set. Folks like my mom and dad, who I can assure you are not going to stream a football game on their laptop or tablet.
Most other sports are already “hard core” in nature. In that they have shed for good, the “casual” fan. The NBA playoffs only reside on network TV once we get to the Finals, and baseball’s broadcast partner Fox doesn’t want any more product to show – in fact, they’d prefer LESS!
The NCAA Final Four is now a cable-only thing every other year, and the new college football playoff is an ESPN thing.
If I were the NFL, I would want to hold on to my status as the last sport that can dominate NETWORK ratings (not cable) and try to avoid the perception that a football game is just another “thing on the internet” – like “Hilarious Dad Fall on Boat” on YouTube.