Here it comes: Sports Networks Are Setting Up Deals to Make Money from Live Broadcasts Online

The NFL online? Besides the World Cup, the NFL is the sports based ultimate stress test for at home broadband. The Chernin Group CEO Peter Chernin says NFL games, as well as other major live sporting events, is lumbering towards the year 2005 and making their content available online. Money is a funny thing when it comes to bringing pro sports owners together.

Attending Code/Media in California Wednesday, Chernin, whose company The Chernin Group got aquired by AT&T in a $500 million joint venture to “acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top streaming video services” in April, said he wasn’t sure of the timeline, but framed it as an “inevitable evolution” of the digital space.




World News Videos | US News Videos

“There’s clearly more money to be made online than there is out of those broadcast deals,” said the former president of News Corp. “There’s more money to be made on a subscription basis, targeted, they’re global, there’s almost zero distribution friction, so, I think there is more money to be made.

The holy trinity of sports in North America – the NBA, MLB, and NFL – have been slow to move content and broadcasts to streaming video on a large scale,  but the revenue stream will not be ignored by them anymore. Money is a funny thing.

“What the leagues are grappling with, particularly the bigger leagues, are the breadth of their audience on those free national platforms,” he said. “But look, 15 years ago they said sports would never be on cable, that you’d never see the NFL or the NBA on cable. They’re all over cable at this point and I think you’ll see there’s an inevitable evolution.”

As to who would get the first shot at one of those big distribution deals, Chernin, despite his ties to AT&T, wouldn’t name a potential winner. But, he said, it likely would be a telecom or one of the dominant tech giants. Google, for example, has been rumored to be in pursuit of a deal with major sports leagues in the past.

Chernin Group and AT&T, meanwhile, two years ago, failed in an attempt to buy Hulu, the second time the video aggregator was up for sale.

But that miss hasn’t deterred AT&T from pushing forward in the video space, Chernin said, recounting that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told him “there’s nothing more important to us than video.”

As Chernin noted, digital distribution continue to gather momentum and it’s likely to result in “a golden age for video distribution.”

Golden Age for pixel blasting our eyeballs.

After all, none of us spend enough time looking at a screen. </sarcasm>

16 karma points