Tag Archives: NFL

Is Google or Apple the Future of Sports Television?

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Within the past few years we’ve seen à la carte options like NBA League Pass Broadband and MLB Extra Innings Broadband excel with games that would otherwise not be available to a person on TV because they are out of market. Will the NFL and its Sunday Game Day rights soon make the transition out of the hands of Directv and onto the internet courtesy of Apple or Google? I am here to say it is quite possible.

Directv pays $1 BILLION A YEAR for all out of market football games, calls it “Sunday Ticket”, and then willingly loses $375 million on it every year. It is projected that if the price of these rights rises above $1.5 billion, it will no longer be economically sound and beneficial for Directv to own these rights. Presently, Directv has Sunday Ticket because they believe it gives them a competitive advantage over rival cable companies and allows them to keep their subscribers despite their monthly bill slowly inching up. However, in the late 2010s (possibly 2016 or 2017 when the new 2014 deal is expired), what’s stopping Google from potentially buying up this football package from the NFL and transitioning this necessity for big fans to the wires of the web?? This option seems quite logical as fans could pay a one year fee (similar to NBA League Pass) and not be forced to pay the rising monthly bill TV providers like Directv require. I see potential for Google and Apple within the NFL, but not the NBA or MLB. This is because the NBA and MLB directly offer their out of market games to fans via the web. NBA and MLB do not go through a separate company. They are independent and sell it directly. If they came in, Google would be doing the same thing that is already going on – a one time fee for a bunch of games throughout the season. The NFL’s potential is unique to Google or Apple because the NFL exclusively uses Directv as its intermediary and there is room to snatch that partnership. With the number of cable subscribers going down, monthly bills going up, and the demand for an alternative option already beginning to be requested from NFL fans, Apple or Google could be the answer. I believe the NFL package through Google or Apple would generate more eyeballs because more people would be willing to pay $200 a year to get the games, rather than pay $100 a month to Directv just to have access to all the games.

If Google and Apple do, in fact, wish to test the waters of televising sports to the masses, content holders will see yet another spike in rights fees because more bidders are being added to the already bloody, red ocean. In the case of the NFL, I think a rise in rights fees is actually beneficial to the tech giants Google and Apple because it would potentially mean the price of Sunday Ticket exceeding $1.5 billion per year and effectively eliminating Directv out of the bidding.

In the near future, I do not foresee anything more for Google or Apple besides the out of market NFL package via the internet because of how many parties would have to be changed in order for a lasting Google or Apple takeover in sports to occur. TV networks and their corresponding exclusive contracts on playoffs, conferences, and times (like Sunday Night Football and TNT’s Thursday Night Basketball) would have to expire first. Also things like advertising and network and team sponsorships would have to be reconsidered. Plus, there is the argument on whether Baby Boomers and the older crowd of America would be up for a new entertainment method. Would people actually be willing to adapt to NFL on the internet? Despite this long term uncertainty, the near future can definitely include Google or Apple and their exceptional amount of cash on hand makes all of this speculation plausible.

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Today, you have Analytics on Anything

NFL Ladies

 

This year, what would you say the most watched event by women in the United States was?

The Oscars? pssshhhhhhhhh.

The Grammys? Yeah…. no. Try again.

The Super Bowl? Only if they were forced!!

Wait… That is the answer. Super Bowl XLVIII was watched by an average of 44.9 million women! Women actually make up 46 percent of all NFL fans, with an average of 63 percent of women 12 years old and older identifying themselves as fans.

Even with numbers as significant and alluring as those, marketing to a female fan is still a bit awkward for most sports leagues. In the past, sports marketers thought if you pinked it and you shrinked it, women would be interested. However, now, hyperfocused analytical data is being collected and helping marketers  realize the untapped potential of women and their love of sports.

For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods has a website completely dedicated to the representation and visualization of consumers’ NFL jersey purchasing habits (http://www.dsg.com/jerseyreport/football). Although the data is just from in-store and online jersey sales through the Dick’s Sporting Goods company, Jersey Report is frequently regarded as the official ranking system of NFL jersey sales nationwide. As a sports nerd, this site is one of the coolest sites I’ve came across. I can’t help but think it’s like stock market information, but for NFL jerseys. It’s extremely interactive and has the professional look of a 10 year, in-depth MRI consumer report. But the point is, now everything has to be that in-depth. Every company in every industry has to have these type of insights because if they don’t, they fall behind their smarter competition.

This particular analytic tool by Dick’s isn’t just for frisky fun and karate kicks. It offers serious breakdowns in jersey sales according to position, geographic proximity, team, jersey type, and desired length of time. It has direct implications on parties like NFL jersey manufacturers, retail merchandise buyers, and shipping teams. Nearly every Walmart has a sports apparel section that is catered to the local sports teams, but if you don’t think Walmart is starting to research and see what sports teams and players are hot across all markets, you are crazy. If the most bought jersey by women in Oregon is Andrew Luck, the most bought jersey by women in Alaska is Tony Romo, and the most bought jersey by women >IN OKLAHOMA< is Eli Manning of the >NEW YORK< Giants, someone has got to alter their supply streams to cater to that bizarre demand. It is analytical tools like Jersey Report by Dick’s Sporting Goods that is making companies realize that what they think is going on, isn’t actually what is going on.

Women aren’t just watching celebrity awards shows and buying pink, breast cancer awareness jerseys. They love their sports and they want the same style as men, and if you don’t alter your efforts to that, someone else will.

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A Panini Monopoly

panini-ut

Panini is the world’s number 1 company for sports cards, sports memorabilia, and sports collectibles. And Panini is doing everything to maintain and strengthen that prestigious title. Their latest effort? Panini announced earlier this week that it has reached an exclusive multi-year trading card agreement with The University of Texas.  This agreement will allow the company to use the school’s team logos and university marks in its trading card products for college-specific trading card sets.

Ready for a crash course on the sports card industry? *Takes a deep breathe*

Topps and Upper Deck are Panini’s 2 primary competitors, but long story short, they are both dwindling in market share. Topps, in the past, was producing MLB cards, NFL cards, and NBA cards. Now, they are down to only having rights to MLB cards and UFC cards. Upper Deck, in the past, was producing MLB cards, NFL cards, NBA cards, and NHL cards. Now, they only have rights to producing NHL cards, golf cards, and college cards. As for Panini, they are slowly working with professional leagues and looking to become the sole manufacturer and provider of every leagues’ cards. They have already secured the NBA, secured the FIFA World Cup, just secured the NFL, and have half the rights to the NHL (shared with Upper Deck). MLB is a tough one because Topps runs the show with that league’s cards, but Panini is creeping into that domain too.

To give an analogy, Panini is like Walmart. They have the most money and  they just buy their way in and slowly force everyone out who competes. They are the champions of the modern day business and will continue to be the future of the lucrative sports card and sports memorabilia  industry.

*Exhales*

This University of Texas deal is part of a continued effort by Panini to secure exclusive partnerships with colleges so that Panini can pump out college-related products too. Why? Because Upper Deck is surviving mostly in thanks to their college card presence. If Panini locks up all the colleges, Upper Deck can’t use them for college related products anymore (Bye Bye Upper Deck!). The University of Texas is the latest school to sign on as an exclusive trading card partner of Panini, joining more than 225 other universities including Mississippi State (the #1 college football team at the moment), University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, Univeristy of Miami, Kansas State University, and Baylor University. Panini will begin producing collegiate trading card products in the spring of 2015 (Products about college football featuring ex-Heisman Trophy winners’ autographs, products on college basketball featuring autographs and game-used cards of All-American greats, etc.)

To summarize, sports cards aren’t as simple as they once were 20 years ago. They now include traits like autographs, jersey pieces, patches, sequential numbering, refactor finishes, and die-cut designs. If there is anything I want this article to prove, it’s that millions of dollars are being exchanged in relation to something so simple like sports cards. Although all these deals’ monetary figures are highly confidential, this type of news just proves that sports leagues and colleges are making outrageous amounts money in ways you never even thought of.

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