Thursday, December 17, 2015

The NFL Revenue "Stream" To Rise

As we suspected it would, the NFL is already taking steps toward additional free online streaming of selected games as quickly as next season. The success of the Yahoo stream of the unattractive matchup of Buffalo vs. Jacksonville from London back on October 25th in generating a significant audience in the 9:30 AM ET time slot has the NFL salivating.

According to Sports Business Daily, the NFL, while preparing to accept bids from the major networks for the Thursday Night Football package for 2016, has sent specifications for streaming rights to the likes of Yahoo, Google, and Apple for the entire package. The speculation is that a streaming package would include the same advertising as will appear on the "winning" network telecasts as well as on NFL Network.

What that method would do is protect the "winning" TV network by providing the additional exposure for advertising it secures, instead of taking away from it, and provides an added incentive for the networks to perhaps bid even higher.

The "winning" streaming service would be able to sell advertising minutes within the positions which are allotted for local TV stations (and local cable/satellite systems when only on NFL Network), and thus be able to generate significant revenue, along with visitors, from their rights fees. Of course, the NFL sits in the position of not having to accept a streaming bid, although that is highly unlikely. Yahoo reportedly paid $15 million for the streaming rights to the one telecast this season, which was, in reality, not an attractive game. That would be huge dollars over a 16 week package (not including
Thanksgiving night on NBC as part of its Sunday package).

It appears that the NFL would like to have its decision on its Thursday Night Football network in place prior to the upcoming Super Bowl. The package would be the same as this season and in 2014, with the over the air network airing eight of the 16 weeks in simulcast with NFL Network, and NFL Network airing the remainder nationally along with stations in the local markets each week.

This week (Dec. 19/20), NFL Network airs two games, adding Saturday's N.Y. Jets at Dallas game in addition to the Thursday (12/17) game. As a result, it's double duty for the lead announcing team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. The pair will call the game in Dallas on Saturday night and then be in Pittsburgh on Sunday for the CBS doubleheader game against Denver at 4:25 PM ET.

Next week, Nantz and Simms are expected to call the Thursday Night (Christmas Eve) game between K.C. and Oakland, although CBS has yet to reveal their destination for Sunday Dec. 27th as of press time.

Some bad news this week about a couple of significant sports media personalities. We wish a speedy and full recovery to John Madden following open heart surgery. San Francisco Bay Area fans noticed that Madden was not making his usual weekday appearances on KCBS 740 over the past month, which turned out to be because news of the surgery was kept under wraps.

Sorry to learn of the passing of long time baseball reporter Phil Pepe, who died at the age of 80 from a heart attack last weekend. Pepe covered the Yankees for two major NYC papers from 1961 (the Roger Maris year) through 1989, when he handled morning sports reports for WCBS Radio for another 15 years.

Long time baseball fans who enjoy biographies also remember Pepe as author and/or editor of books about Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Gary Carter, and Tim McCarver among others.

CHICAGO: It went from "no word" to "no doubt" on the announcement that Ron Coomer is returning to the Cubs' radio booth as analyst for his 3rd season in that role. Speculation had been that the Cubs were considering a replacement to work along with Pat Hughes with the games moving to WSCR 670 The Score starting in 2016.

SAN DIEGO: Fox Sports San Diego has added Julie Alexandria to its coverage of the Padres games starting with the coming season. Alexandria previously hosted Mets Weekly for SNY and been a part of MASN's coverage of the Nationals.

ATLANTA: Aiyana Cristal is joining WGCL-TV as a reporter, starting early January. Cristal was most recently with Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

HATTIESBURG MS: A sad story for WFOR 1400, as the sports station remained off the air (at press time) for more than 36 hours with no timetable for returning to the airwaves. The building including all of the studios was destroyed in a fire earlier this week (12/15), while a local firefighter was injured during the battle. The station is streaming Fox Sports Radio until the situation can be remedied.

TOLEDO: Another of those "only in radio" stories for WLQR 106.5 The Ticket. The station is owned by Cumulus which has a partnership with CBS Sports Radio. Yet, and actually to its credit, WLQR dumped CBS Sports Radio because it was able to pick up ESPN Radio. Then again, this station dumped ESPN about three years ago to pick up CBS Sports. Also to its credit, the station continues with Bob Frantz and Mike Miller (local) for afternoon drive.

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