The streaming wars have been everything they were advertised to be.
While the idea of cord cutting was being discussed over a decade ago, the process of consumers abandoning cable television for a more bespoke viewing experience really started picking up by 2015.
The shift has turned the pay television model on its head and a new generation of media companies are trying to catch the potential viewers that have fallen out of the cable model.
But this isn’t an underdog story.
The “upstart” companies like Amazon Prime Video (AMZN) Apple TV+ (AAPL) and Netflix (NFLX) , all have deep pockets. But they are still relatively new to a game the broadcast networks have been playing for decades.
When Australian Rupert Murdoch launched his nascent television network FOX in the US in 1986 he knew he had an uphill battle to even be considered in the same league as legacy mainstays like CBS (para) ABC (THIS) and NBC (CMCSA) .
FOX got its edge when it was able to secure broadcast rights for the National Football League in 1993. The company began broadcasting the game as a spectacle, replete with pre-game, halftime, and post-game programming that changed the scope of sports broadcasting forever.
Three decades later, the streamers are fighting for a chance to do what Fox did in the 90’s, and they plan to use the NFL to do so.
NFL Sunday Sells Tickets
Whoever wins the bidding war for NFL Sunday Ticket, the NFL’s comprehensive streaming package that allows viewers to see the league’s full slate of out of market games every Sunday, will have a leg up on its competition, according to a new study.
Streamable.com conducted a survey of 2,562 fans who regularly watch the NFL. The study found that 48% of NFL fans “definitely will or are likely” to subscribe to Sunday Ticket once it is offered by a major streaming provider.
The winning bidder will pick up a large number of first-time subscribers, according to the study, more than 40% of those who never subscribed before said they would “definitely”.
Scroll to Continue
However, most respondents also said they would need a price cut to consider the service. Only 26% of respondents said they were willing to pay the current $300 per season base price.
A base price between $150 and $200 nearly doubles the rate of adoption according to the study.
Currently, 6% of fans are subscribers paying full price, between $300 and $400 a year, while 7% are paying a DirecTV promotional price where Sunday Ticket is included.
Meanwhile, 75% of NFL fans have never subscribed to the service while nearly 13% have had the service previously but canceled.
Up until now Sunday Ticket has been an exclusive of DirecTV. Meaning to get Sunday Ticket you had to change your cable provider to DirecTV.
The Race for NFL Sunday Ticket
The NFL is looking for the buyer willing to pay more than $2 billion annually for the rights to Sunday Ticket, which is the package that features all of the league’s regional broadcasts on Sundays, according to CNBC.
“I clearly believe we’ll be moving to a streaming service,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin in a recent interview. “I think that’s best for consumers at this stage.”
Fans of out of market teams are 66% more likely to be currently subscribed to Sunday Ticket than fans of in-market teams, and are nearly three times more likely to “definitely” subscribe to the service, according to Streamable’s survey.
DirecTV has been paying $1.5 billion annually for the broadcast rights. A deal is not expected imminently, according to the report, as DirecTV still has the rights to Sunday Ticket for the upcoming 2022 season.
NFL fans would have to subscribe to DirecTV to have access to Sunday Ticket, that requirement won’t be present in the new deal, CNBC reported.
The Satellite TV provider DirecTV, which is now owned by AT&T (T) has been the home to NFL Sunday Ticket since the service launched, and in 2014 it renewed its deals through this season.