How Apple, Amazon, or Google could make Web TV a reality: Spend billions on the NFL

“Dear Tim, Larry, Steve and Jeff,” Peter Kafka writes for AllThingsD, “Sorry to bother you during earnings season, but I wanted to lob in an idea from the cheap seats.”

“The TV Industrial Complex is really hard to displace, even for guys like you, with your technical chops, consumer connections and billions of dollars to throw around,” Kafka writes. “Which means that right now you’re either re-selling TV’s leftovers or floating proposals that would end up replicating the existing system.”

Kafka writes, “But I have a fix! Go buy yourself some football, and stream it over the Web. Specifically, write a check to the NFL for its ‘Sunday Ticket’ package, the (almost) all-you-can-eat subscription service for America’s most popular sport. Right now those rights belong to DirecTV. But the satellite TV company’s four-year deal expires at the end of the 2014 season. Which means you should be starting negotiations now.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. If it wasn’t for the NFL — I would have cut the cord years ago. All I watch are HBO Go, Netflix, Amazon Prime. Direct TV features hundreds of useless channels that I pay +$100 a month for. Just for NFL.

  2. Anyone know why Apple is down nearly as much as Google percentage-wise this morning? Was there some bad news concerning Apple? Or is it one of those Wall Street assumptions that if Google doesn’t meet its numbers then neither will Apple?

    1. It’s like wondering why the herd of cows decided to congregate around a particular tuft of grass these days. I suppose the more we watch the cows the more we’ll get the hang of this seeming randomness.

      Or maybe they read MDN and got all pissed off at us making fun of Apple Bear Bullshit behavior. Or maybe it’s the fact that the moon will be full in a few days. (o_0)

    2. Good questions, Laughing_Boy48. I think tithe implication in your last question is the right answer, even though it is Apple itself that is the cause of the downfall of Microsoft’s and Google’s earnings misses! Wall Street remains as dense and obtuse as ever…

  3. While the NFL is hugely popular, this is a silly idea. There’s not enough bandwidth available to stream games live, particularly in major markets or during Monday Night Football. There would have to be massive buffering, and freezes and images going out of HD would be far too common. NFL viewers would never stand for it, and that’s something Apple has no control over.

    1. Umm, no. Technology has surpassed that issue for anyone with reasonable bandwidth. I’ve watch pirated feeds of NFL games for almost a decade (f— DirecTV), and consistently both the playback and quality is getting. And that’s for shitty no money pirate feeds. Apple with a technology investment would not have those issues.

  4. Just another techie with no clue about sports and sports viewers, or the NFL’s billions of dollars in contractual relationships with the networks in general.

    Not enough TVs are networked for this to matter one bit, and the NFL Sunday Ticket audience holds only a fraction of the audience of the broadcast networks. And it’s those networks that hold the rights to the local teams, and get the choice weekly matchups for the Sunday and Monday night time slots. Yeah, Directv’s contract expires after 2014. But, what about CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN, who each have billions committed to the NFL for first dibs on local and top national matchups?

    NFL Sunday Ticket is the bargain basement where games with less local interest get tossed. It’s a sizable audience, but it pales in comparison with the viewership numbers that the networks get. If anyone wants the NFL to jump-start a web platform, it will require bidding for more than just the NFL Sunday Ticket package.

    Plus, football and sports in general are a match made in heaven for big screen TVs. Right now, there are just not enough TVs enabled for web streaming for any of this to matter. The networks know this, and that’s why the regional sports rights for local teams have gone into the billion dollar ranges. (Multiply this out by the multitude of MLB, NBA, and to a lesser extent, NHL, teams, and suddenly the dollars get into the tens of billions of dollars) The NFL is just one component among many, and the common thread with sports rights is big money paid out by broadcasters over the long-term for local market exclusivity. And this trend is accelerating, rather than slowing down.

  5. American football is crap, basketball is crap,
    NASCAR is ok but crap compared to Formula 1, the only America sport that is enjoyable is baseball but they have to stop wear those ridiculous pyjamases when they play…

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