|Football Fans May Be Turning to Google For Their Fix|
|By JON M. CHANG||Aug 22, 2013, 10:48 AM|
Are you the type of football fan whose ideal weekend is parking your keister in front of the TV and bingeing on game after game like it were a Netflix series? You might already subscribe to DirecTV's $224.99 Sunday Ticket package, which puts each of the 12-13 NFL games on a different DirecTV channel for easy viewing.
But DirecTV might not have that contract for much longer. As reported by All Things D, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has met with both Robert Kyncl, the head of content and business operations at YouTube, and Larry Page, Google's CEO. The Sunday Ticket package was one of the topics discussed.
Joanna Hunter, a spokesperson for the NFL, said that the league is always looking for ways to make the game better for fans, both in the stadium and at home. "Members of our office meet often with innovative leaders in Silicon Valley and around the world," she told ABC News.
However, the NFL remained quiet about what exactly Goodell's meeting with Google was about. "We are not commenting on any specifics of the meetings," said Hunter. YouTube had no comment regarding the NFL meeting, while Google has not made an official statement.
According to the NFL, DirecTV has the Sunday Ticket contract through the 2014 season at an estimated cost of $1 billion a year. If Google and its YouTube unit were thinking about putting up a bid to the NFL, they may need to revolutionize the way fans watch TV.
Streaming the games for free through YouTube doesn't seem like a viable option, according to Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst for Moor Insights and Strategy. "Google would need to charge for content as web and app ad models aren't as developed as TV," he said.
But he also says that even though Google will need to charge customers, it may be able to do so for less. "DirecTV is charging for NFL too...and there are also subsidies with their basic satellite service fees," said Moorhead. "All Google would need to enable NFL on TV would be to provide Chromecast devices to NFL subscribers."
Since Google TV hasn't made a big splash, the possibility of an NFL partnership could help get Google deeper into the TV market. "The NFL serves the core, average American audience," said Moorhead, "and could endear themselves to Google if they treat them fairly."