The dream may finally soon become a reality: NFL Sunday Ticket accessible without a satellite dish. The Athletic reported in September that the NFL’s preferred destination for Sunday Ticket is Apple, but this process is obviously going to be a competition with the rights going to the highest bidder. Now Sports Business Journal is reporting that ESPN+ is very much in the bidding war as well, via Disney’s CEO:
I don’t care who gets it — as long as I can access it via an app like I do NBA League Pass. For that, I’ll spring for Apple+ and finally tune in to Ted Lasso, or even upgrade to Hulu Live. It is 2021 and a satellite dish is not a status symbol. It’s an inconvenience.
If you’ve ever worked, or been a patron, at a bar, on an NFL Sunday, you’re familiar with this situation: It’s the fourth quarter and a team is driving. Patrons of different jerseys are entranced and provide lubricated commentary of groans, cheers and expletives. However it’s raining outside and the wind picks up, then on 3rd-and-goal with 35 seconds remaining boom! The televisions go black and then the can’t pickup the signal notification is displayed.
The signal comes back within a few minutes, but by then the game has been decided and you’re ready to demand a free round from the bar manager. It’s not as if it’s impossible for inclement weather to knock out an internet connection, but it happens far less often. It feels like as soon as wind and rain droplets combine, out goes the DirecTV. It’s frustrating enough when you’ve racked up a lengthy bar tab in Los Angeles by 12:30 p.m., for it to happen at home when you’re paying $200 for the package along with the bill for the service, and some apartment buildings charge extra to have a dish must be maddening.
That’s way too much effort just to not watch the New York football teams, Washington or Atlanta every Sunday. NBA League Pass is simple: Set up an account at NBA.com, navigate to League Pass, select a package and put in your card information, instant access. All you have to do to watch it on television is download the app onto your streaming device or smart television, or connect your computer to the television by USB cable. It’s not much different for any of the major American sports except for football, where you have to wait for someone who is supposed to arrive within a three-hour window.
The NFL is already making its move into streaming. Beginning in 2022, Thursday Night Football will be broadcast exclusively on Amazon Prime. There is no better way for them to cash on streaming than by putting Sunday Ticket on a service. Football is not only the most popular sport in America, it’s the country’s most popular television product in age where you can point, click and watch anything you want that premiered on television at that exact moment, all the way back to The Honeymooners. Why make your product more difficult to access?
It appears that the NFL has finally climbed out of 1998 to see the easy money right in front of its face. Remember that initial Disney+ sign up surge? Let there be a rollout next season for a Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu/Sunday Ticket package. Succession better have decade a left in it, otherwise there might not be a need for another streaming service