NFL faces ‘inflection point’ on carriage | Media Investment | Business
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The future of NFL broadcasts in the US may look very different in a few years, with existing carriage deals set to expire in 2022 and a host of streaming tech giants waiting in the wings: chief business and media officer Brian Rolapp calls it “an inflection point.”
NFL biz 1Sep2018

Speaking at a season preview event with NFL Network hosts, Rolapp discussed the role of digital distribution in sports. He said that he had reservations about a tech company being able to support a true broadcast sports event, down to multiple camera angles, hosts and commentators, and promotion.

“Our entire model is about reach,” he said. “Traditionally, broadcast television was the best way to achieve that...but these digital companies are working hard on reach.” Rolapp added that he sees, for now, streaming as a “supplement” for its well-established reach model in place with major broadcasters.

That said, he did acknowledge the declining ratings the league has seen with its traditional carriage footprint in the last two years.

“There’s no fear, but a healthy paranoia,” he said, added, “Only the paranoid survive....There are things we can control and things we can’t control.”

While sponsorship and advertising revenue are keeping pace, leading up to the final 2017-2018 regular-season games, the NFL saw average TV viewership decline 9% year-over-year. The average TV network game -- across all its national TV networks -- was down 8.8% through Week 16 of the season; the previous season’s Week 16 came in at 16.3 million, according to Nielsen.