The NFL has added yet another broadcasting partner — of sorts — following a multitude of major-money deals spanning the next decade-plus that will bring in another $100-plus billion into the league’s coffers over that course of time. This latest deal isn’t nearly as prominent, but it could be significant for some. Particularly the proverbial ‘cord cutters’ among us who no longer subscribe to a TV cable package.
The NFL and Hulu have agreed to a deal that will see them carry the NFL Network, the league’s own channel, in addition to NFL RedZone, a very popular channel, which allows viewers to experience the highlights, frequently as the occur, across all games played over the course of the season.
The programming will be available to those who subscribe to Hulu’s live television package, and will begin streaming in August. It should be noted that this is just one more option, however, in addition to those already available, such as YouTube’s live television package, as well as Sling. But Hulu will bring in another audience.
Of course, the biggest digital news that the league could ever present is the offering of a live GamePass that allows viewers to watch any game that they want in real time. For US residents, GamePass only allows you to view a game after it has completed, with the exception of the preseason, which you can view live provided that the game isn’t blacked out in your area.
The league’s live television package still belongs to DirecTV, but the ultimate fate of Sunday Ticket remains to be determined. The current contract, if I am correct, expires following the 2022 season. There are certainly those who would like to see another company (with more reliable customer service, perhaps) land that content.
There is still a ways to go for the NFL in terms of cracking the digital realm. No doubt, a lot of untapped revenue is just waiting to be unleashed. For some, it is perplexing that they have not mined this strain more robustly in the past.
Of course, it’s not as though the league is hurting for money. Routinely and without fail, the NFL makes up 90-plus percent of the most-watched television programs year-in and year-out. While overall ratings have decline across the board over the course of the past half-decade or so with more people streaming, football has been the most stable and reliable product available.
Which is precisely why their broadcasting partners just shelled out a premium to ensure that they have their hands in that pie, because they know how valuable that premium content is, not only in and of itself, but for cross-promotion of their other products.