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A Recap of Yahoo’s Livestream of Bills Vs. Jaguars

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If you were up early Sunday morning to watch the Yahoo! broadcast of the Bills and Jaguars—Buffalo fans were served a huge helping of indigestion for breakfast—you were offered a glimpse into what will certainly be part of the NFL’s future. The league will no doubt create an online-only package at some point to complement its current broadcast and cable TV deals. That package will likely consist of a small number of games and while the attractiveness of those games will not be high, it will come at some point because the NFL does not ignore potential revenue streams. The Thursday Night Football package currently shown by CBS and the NFL Network has intentionally been kept to a one-year deal (with a one-year league option) so game inventory remains flexible. The NFL’s current media packages with the networks expire in 2021-22.

So what to make of Sunday’s broadcast, a topsy-turvy 34-31 Jacksonville win? Well, it was different, from an NFL Network pregame show leading to a CBS NFL game production, all live-streamed by an Internet company at no charge around the world on its web platforms. While NFL games have been streamed online for several years, this game was the first to be available primarily on the Internet. (The game was still seen on over-the-air television in Buffalo and Jacksonville.)

The streaming experience is so personalized given your device and Internet carrier, so a hearty caveat emptor when reading about people’s experience. I asked my followers on Twitter to send thoughts on Yahoo!’s NFL stream and you can see them here.

Not unexpectedly, the thoughts were all over the map in terms of satisfaction and disappointment.

Anecdotally, and please don’t take this an absolute; it appeared most viewers were generally satisfied with the screen experience. I watched on both my iPhone and a MAC laptop. My iPhone picture quality was beautiful; it felt like a video game at times. The laptop quality was also high, though I often had some buffering, pixilation and lagging issues (the stream was well behind Twitter), especially in the first half. If you refreshed the stream, those lags did go away. One thing I heard often from non-Apple TV users was the absence of DVR-type controls. I also saw a lot of NFL fans, obviously used to continuous action on television, who found it unacceptable when their video paused on occasion in a way that would be unacceptable on TV. I received a number of comments from people who said that Yahoo’s stream that features team bloggers and fantasy expert doing commentary was excellent. I concur. That was a fun added feature.

As SI’s Chris Burke noted in this piece, keep in mind that all of last year’s playoff games were streamed online, in conjunction with their televised broadcasts. CBS also did so for its Oct. 4 coverage of the DolphinsJets game from Wembley Stadium and will do the same for the PanthersCowboys matchup on Thanksgiving Day. FOX is streaming 101 games this season on its FOX Sports Go app, though viewers cannot access out-of-market content.

Yahoo! said more than 30 advertisers bought spots for the game and that the webcast was sold out. (New York Times sports business reporter Richard Sandomir reported it was comparable to the price of commercial time on traditional televised NFL games.) The game had one commercial break fewer per quarter and at times CBS broadcaster Kevin Harlan was still talking as the broadcast went to a bank of commercials. Unlike linear television, we also some commercials that were 15 seconds in duration. Re/code’s Peter Kafka, calling the broadcast a low-risk proposition for the NFL, reported Yahoo paid around $20 million to broadcast the game.

To read the rest of this article visit Sports Illustrated where it was originally published

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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