Sunday, December 28, 2008

NFL Rewind - Slice and Dice Viewing

With my daughter sick today, laying in my bed and watching her horse movies, I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to watch any NFL today. It's the last day of the season, and while there are playoff games coming, it's a bit exciting with 3 division races and about 10 or 12 teams in the race.

So I wondered what options I might have for seeing the games on my computer while she watched her movies. I checked out DirectTV, and they were happy to sell me the Sunday Ticket for $289. That's not horrible especially as it includes next year, but that's a pretty good spend when I'd probably watch 2-3 games a week. If it included the computer streaming, I'd be interested, but it doesn't. I have to spent another $70 for that, which isn't terribly exciting. To me it's a good opportunity for them, but that seems like they've priced themselves out of the market for many people.

I'd be curious see how many people subscribe, and then I wonder if they'd be willing to break up the package a bit, maybe let people buy a 1 day (or 1 week) access. It should be trivial in today's world to easily have people purchase a day, get access, and then turn it off after Monday night.

I checked out the NFL Rewind as well. I've heard it advertised a bit as well as the NBC streaming for the Sunday night game. The NFL Rewind is interesting, but it doesn't get you live games. It gets you a recap of the week, so I could watch a bit over the week of the games from today, but it doesn't help me if I'm sitting here with my daughter.

I can't quite understand why the NFL goes to such lengths to protect local markets. Almost every game sells out, and if it doesn't, blacking out the local games doesn't necessarily mean that I will buy tickets the next time. It means that I have less of a reason to get excited and follow the team.

In my mind, you'd be better off slicing and dicing your products. Sell access to a game online, or on cable/satellite, do it for a reasonable number. $4.99 for a single game? Technology makes it easy, and you can make money outside your local market. I'd be tempted to grab the Cowboys games a few times a year. And if the local game doesn't sell out, sell it everywhere in the local market as well. Split with the owners and let them make back some money.

And give us more camera angles. I don't get how after years and years of NFL, and growing popularity, that we don't have multiple cameras available on each game, even different channels. Let us choose how to watch it and especially if we get streaming.

To me the NFL is really missing out here. They're very popular, but forcing these large bundles, trying to get larger payments is an old way of doing business. The new model should be to have a more flexible model. They could even pilot this in certain markets, let people on the waiting lists pilot the access, see how many might actually purchase additional "products" and then redo the ROI calculations on wide-scale deployment.

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