The National Football League could be airing its out of market games on YouTube by the 2015 season. PHOTO: Matt Montagne, CC License
The 2014-15 NFL season could be broadcast on YouTube in a sign of changing times away from television and toward streaming on the internet. The National Football League, like Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, offer a subscription service so that fans may watch out of market games online. The NFL has a deal with DirecTV that runs through the end of the 2014 season to provide their Sunday Ticket package. With two seasons left on that deal, the NFL is in talks now for the next big contract, and Google is thinking about making a bid.
At the moment, both Google and the NFL are being cagey about the whole thing:
"Members of our office meet often with innovative leaders in Silicon Valley and around the world," an NFL rep told Mashable. "We are constantly looking for ways to make our game better on the field, in the stadium, and for fans. We are not commenting on any specifics of the meetings."
DirecTV’s deal with the NFL is for $1 billion, something that Google could easily afford. Google, and this is just my speculation, might be willing to operate an NFL channel at a small loss or a break-even point, with the benefit of integrating themselves more and more into the lives of consumers, and getting more people used to the idea of watching their television on YouTube.
As we progress further into this decade, the television, the defining technology for much of the last generation, seems more and more obsolete. There is still a robust market for a large screen on which one can comfortably watch stuff, but more and more of that content is coming from online sources, or is at least available on both. Google, with YouTube, is the most naturally situated corporation to be at the center of this conversion, and capturing the NFL would bring in millions of mainstream Americans under their wing.