For the first time in history, the NFL says it plans to broadcast one of its 2015-2016 regular season games via the Internet only, according to a source close to the situation.
The rights to the broadcast of the NFL’s Week 7 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium will be sold to a digital distribution company, whether that be Facebook, YouTube, or someone else. Both the Jacksonville and Buffalo markets will still get the game on cable TV, but elsewhere, viewers will have to tune in to the live web stream to catch the game. The move marks a turning point for the NFL, which has relied heavily in the past on contracts with cable TV networks like CBS and Fox to broadcast its games.
Does this set a precedent for future sports broadcasts? How much does the NFL stand to gain (or lose) by broadcasting over the Internet only? What about the cable networks?
Rick Burton, professor of sport management at the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at Syracuse University