As I sat at Super Bowl LI and watched the man in front of me use one of his phones to live stream the game to his followers on Facebook, I was slightly confused. Yes, I had seen a live stream before on both Instagram and Facebook, but I had never actually spent time watching one. To me, it was just a video people started when they were bored. But, in this situation, it was so much more.
As the game progressed and my cousins and I chatted with the man in front of us (who happened to be in the movie The Blind Side), he explained to us why he was live streaming the game to his followers. He said that we were living in a world where everyone was on the go, and not many people had the luxury of watching the game in person or from the comfort of their living room. He had over 15,000 followers watching his streaming and was under the belief that the people watching were not watching the game anywhere else. As the world continues to change, people are seeking new ways to get their entertainment on the go.
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Streaming of media content is the way of the world nowadays. Years ago this would’ve never been something people would’ve predicted or even considered. Football had taken over Sunday’s long ago, and many people (including my father) would’ve never considered leaving the house on a Sunday or watching the game on anything other than their TV. These traditions or “sacred rituals” are long gone. As football ratings go down and viewership hits an all time low, the NFL and its media broadcast networks look for new ways to gain viewership.
Football has also seen a decrease in viewership with the growing number of on-demand streaming options. They also noted that sites like ESPN, who has a streaming service, saw it more than double, making them believe that people are no longer watching traditional TV. The NFL has recognized this problem exists and are trying to do everything in their power to engage fans and get them watching games again.
On April 4, the NFL reached an exclusive one-year, $50 million deal with Amazon to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games. The games will still be broadcast on the two networks who have rights to these games, NBC or CBS. Games will be available to over 60 million Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon beat out Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for the rights. Twitter provided the live streaming service last season to fans for free. Twitter paid $10 million for the contract, which is one-fifth of what Amazon got the deal for. This new deal gives Amazon the opportunity to push into sports as well as the entertainment streaming side.
Amazon recognized an opportunity in the market, and they took it. They knew a lot of their prime subscribers loved sports and would appreciate this added benefit to their membership. Amazon also recognized an opportunity to gain customers who would be willing to pay $99 a year to watch these games. For people who are always on the go, especially families, this feature will allow more people to watch games and hopefully help bring viewership up in a marketplace that is oversaturated. With so many opportunities to watch games and other programs, the NFL and its partners, need to find new ways to engage fans. Hopefully, this deal with Amazon will do just that.
About the Author: Megan Winkhaus is a Junior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas studying Sports Management and Communications. Megan hopes to work as a Corporate Communications Manager for a professional sports team. You can follow Megan on Twitter here.