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CBS, Fox contracts with NFL will prevent “significant reduction” in price of Sunday Ticket

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Many are excited about the imminence of the NFL Sunday Ticket landing at a new provider for a variety of reasons, from the possibility of improved customer service over DirecTV’s current “please wait” approach to the possibility of expanding functionality and additional off-market viewing options. games. One important change will not be made.

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It won’t be much cheaper.

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Alex Sherman of CNBC.com reports language in contracts between the NFL and CBS and Fox exclude a significant reduction in the price of the Sunday ticket, which is currently in the $300 range for the entire season. Similarly, an existing streaming service like ESPN+ can’t just add a Sunday Ticket at no additional cost to increase subscriber numbers.

It makes sense. CBS and Fox want people to watch the games offered in their local markets. If the Sunday ticket becomes too affordable, see you later to the usual Sunday viewing of branches in the area.

While I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of Sherman’s report, I would like to approach it from a different perspective. The NFL signed new contracts with CBS and Fox last year, knowing full well that the Sunday Ticket clock was ticking. If the NFL wanted to create a way for cheaper access to the Sunday Ticket, it could change the term in deals with CBS and Fox.

The NFL didn’t. Probably didn’t want to. CBS and Fox would probably offer the NFL much less if it really was easier and cheaper for fans to get a Sunday ticket, even though games available locally through CBS and Fox are not available. The NFL has also positioned itself to get a bigger payday for a Sunday ticket, given that anyone who wants one will fork out substantial cash for the privilege of watching games other than those offered for free locally.

In other words, the NFL is taking full advantage of its broadcast antitrust exemption to maximize revenue from CBS, Fox, and DirecTV by agreeing to and/or imposing terms that make it more expensive for fans who live in Jacksonville, for example, but support the Steelers to see all Pittsburgh games.

There are inherent antitrust issues associated with telling fans that the only way, if they live in Jacksonville, to see all of the Steelers games is to buy the entire Sunday Ticket package. Fans should be able to buy Sunday tickets for one game or one week. On the contrary, for fans who do not live in the market where their favorite team plays, it has been and will be a significant expense to follow the team that originally attracted them to the NFL.

Think about it. The NFL wants you to have a favorite team. But the NFL is subtly pushing you towards the team you live on, making it far more expensive to watch the team you choose to watch. There was a chance last year to make it cheaper by renegotiating the terms protecting local CBS and Fox games, but the NFL didn’t.

Thus, while football is family, greed is good.



Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

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