Money Talks But PPV Speaks Louder.
I guess we take for granted watching live broadcasts of sporting events, especially college football. In 1951, a mere 66-years ago, NBC broadcast the first live, nationwide coverage of a live sporting event. That day it was a college football game between Duke and Pitt. For perspective, there were 133 college football games broadcast live on TV or steamed online on the opening weekend of college football back in September. That’s right, 133 games in one weekend.
Yes, we all know that this live broadcast frenzy is fueled by the networks who bid for college football’s broadcast rights. Many years ago this bidding was enhanced when the FCC abolished the NCAA rights and allowed individual conferences to bid out their conference schedule broadcast rights. The numbers the networks pay are incredible but they are betting on big paybacks from advertisers who love the gigantic ratings. It sounds like a plan until you find out that ESPN alone, in 2012, agreed to a 12-year, $5.64 billion dollar contract for the rights to the college football playoffs and the six associated bowl games. $471m a year in a socio-economic atmosphere of cord-cutting and rampant pirating of broadcasts from numerous dubious sources. ESPN has made such bad deals that they are now going through their second set of headcount cuts to minimize their cost structure. This is ESPN’s scenario – CBS and Fox are basically in the same predicament due to the contracts they signed for rights to broadcast the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-10 and SEC conferences. This take is focused on college football but for perspective ESPN has announced that they are doing a deep-dive study on whether they can afford to keep producing and broadcasting Monday Night Football.
There is not a clear cut answer to the financial dilemma but get familiar with the acronym PPV because it is coming fast. We pay way too much for cable television but I guess we rationalize the money spent every month on the amazing amount (not necessarily quality) of content. PPV, Pay-for-View, is the model that most European broadcasters have gone to – including the ability to watch live sports that once were part of a subscriber’s monthly package. Get ready U.S.A. because that SEC and Big Ten ‘free’ football we watch during the Fall is about to change dramatically. The go forward reality is PPV.
Adios and have a Funday Sunday!!!!