Sports is essential in the broadcasting world.
Where else would you pay a lot of money for an event that is broadcasted live, captures a certain demographic and, when recorded, diminishes it’s impact?
On the other hand, leagues like the NFL realize that the audience is increasingly viewing their product online or via mobile devices.
Which makes this decision brave (and curious):
Signing with Yahoo (who paid a pittance of $20 million to the NFL IMHO) while gaining a potential audience of 1 billion (Yahoo) is a great sign that the NFL gets it. And that they want to exploit this audience. On the other hand, it’ll be interesting to see two things:
a) whether or not the vertically integrated telcos/cable (content and pipes) will start bidding even more to keep these rights or
b) if Yahoo et al combine with ‘a’ as a supplement (eg: broadcasting games on a certain day/period).
Personally, I’d like to see another route -> an Internet company grabbing the entire rights. Then having the telcos/cable companies bid for certain parts.
Not only will you get the best of both worlds (mobile audience) and linear TV/cable, but everyone would be happy (niche advertising, audience demographics).
The future – sooner, rather than later.