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A Recap of Yahoo’s Livestream of Bills Vs. Jaguars

Jason Barrett

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If you were up early Sunday morning to watch the Yahoo! broadcast of the Bills and Jaguars—Buffalo fans were served a huge helping of indigestion for breakfast—you were offered a glimpse into what will certainly be part of the NFL’s future. The league will no doubt create an online-only package at some point to complement its current broadcast and cable TV deals. That package will likely consist of a small number of games and while the attractiveness of those games will not be high, it will come at some point because the NFL does not ignore potential revenue streams. The Thursday Night Football package currently shown by CBS and the NFL Network has intentionally been kept to a one-year deal (with a one-year league option) so game inventory remains flexible. The NFL’s current media packages with the networks expire in 2021-22.

So what to make of Sunday’s broadcast, a topsy-turvy 34-31 Jacksonville win? Well, it was different, from an NFL Network pregame show leading to a CBS NFL game production, all live-streamed by an Internet company at no charge around the world on its web platforms. While NFL games have been streamed online for several years, this game was the first to be available primarily on the Internet. (The game was still seen on over-the-air television in Buffalo and Jacksonville.)

The streaming experience is so personalized given your device and Internet carrier, so a hearty caveat emptor when reading about people’s experience. I asked my followers on Twitter to send thoughts on Yahoo!’s NFL stream and you can see them here.

Not unexpectedly, the thoughts were all over the map in terms of satisfaction and disappointment.

Anecdotally, and please don’t take this an absolute; it appeared most viewers were generally satisfied with the screen experience. I watched on both my iPhone and a MAC laptop. My iPhone picture quality was beautiful; it felt like a video game at times. The laptop quality was also high, though I often had some buffering, pixilation and lagging issues (the stream was well behind Twitter), especially in the first half. If you refreshed the stream, those lags did go away. One thing I heard often from non-Apple TV users was the absence of DVR-type controls. I also saw a lot of NFL fans, obviously used to continuous action on television, who found it unacceptable when their video paused on occasion in a way that would be unacceptable on TV. I received a number of comments from people who said that Yahoo’s stream that features team bloggers and fantasy expert doing commentary was excellent. I concur. That was a fun added feature.

As SI’s Chris Burke noted in this piece, keep in mind that all of last year’s playoff games were streamed online, in conjunction with their televised broadcasts. CBS also did so for its Oct. 4 coverage of the DolphinsJets game from Wembley Stadium and will do the same for the PanthersCowboys matchup on Thanksgiving Day. FOX is streaming 101 games this season on its FOX Sports Go app, though viewers cannot access out-of-market content.

Yahoo! said more than 30 advertisers bought spots for the game and that the webcast was sold out. (New York Times sports business reporter Richard Sandomir reported it was comparable to the price of commercial time on traditional televised NFL games.) The game had one commercial break fewer per quarter and at times CBS broadcaster Kevin Harlan was still talking as the broadcast went to a bank of commercials. Unlike linear television, we also some commercials that were 15 seconds in duration. Re/code’s Peter Kafka, calling the broadcast a low-risk proposition for the NFL, reported Yahoo paid around $20 million to broadcast the game.

To read the rest of this article visit Sports Illustrated where it was originally published

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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