As so much TV content turns digital, and premium providers like HBO and Showtime are making it easier than ever to cut the cord and go a la carte (the jury is still out as to whether that’s a good thing), sports have been the last hope for the traditional cable and broadcast model. National Football League games are the only sure-bet for ratings and viewers on broadcast anymore, so it’s with great surprise that they’ve allowed the NFL to partner with Yahoo to stream even one game online.
But as Variety reports, the game in question is the NFL exhibition in London, which isn’t a huge grab for the broadcasters, anyway. It airs early on a Saturday morning, and often isn’t terribly competitive (this year’s October 25th matchup is between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Probably not a Super Bowl preview).
Given how freaky the NFL is about protecting their content, it’s interesting that they’re exploring internet avenues at all. But indeed, the deal will see that London game streamed across Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen, and most curious of all, Tumblr. (The easier to ship you with, my dear!)
Apparently, the NFL had shopped the deal around the Google, Apple, and Amazon before signing on with Yahoo. But Yahoo is really looking to expand its online presence, so it makes sense that they would push for the most competitive deal. The only question is (as someone who has watched a lot of soccer badly streamed over the internet), how smooth will the stream be? (Someone call Pied Piper to compress it properly!)
The game will still air on local CBS affiliates in Buffalo and Jacksonville (similar to when local games are on the NFL Network or ESPN). Still, many are seeing this as yet another sign of the crumbling power of traditional television. What say you, readers?