Monday, February 09, 2009

Embracing nichetude ...

Baseball and the NHL are fully embracing their nichetude, which is not a bad move when the monolith of pro sports is feeling a little queasy about how it's going to pay for everything. The NHL and MLBAM (BAM, as it's known) are bundling their web video:
"The $139.95 price compares with MLB.TV’s peak price of $109.95 and a $79.95 tag for a half-season of NHL Game Center Live. Pricing for the ESPN-MLB bundle will be $129.95, which would also represent a discount given Insider’s annual price of $39.95.

"The NHL and MLB have relatively little overlap of their schedules. The NHL regular season ends April 12, just one week after the start of MLB’s 2009 regular season, though the NHL digital package does provide for game coverage in the first two rounds of the playoffs."
Online revenues are still just a drop in the bucket, considering the average American still spends more time watching TV than on the web by a factor of five. Let the sportswriters fret about baseball, post-Alex Rodriguez, losing its perch as a "unique paragon of American culture." The business is already positioning itself very well, better than the NFL. Cynics would also point out that MLB.TV is the epitome of negative option billing, since (speaking from personal experience) it sounds great at first, paying a flat fee to stream every game, but how much baseball do you really end up watching? Baseball can be pretty boring,

Nevertheless, this is where watching sports is headed in the next 10, 15 years. Three of the the four big ball-and-stick leagues in North America have clued in and given fans a chance to vote with their wallets, more or less following the law of supply and demand. Only the NFL stubbornly refuses to join the 21st century and tries to strong-arm cable companies into carrying the NFL Network, or making Sunday Ticket inaccessible to almost anyone not in Canada or Mexico.

Anyway, it seems reasonable that some of you might have wanted to know about the NHL and BAM hooking up, since there is a lot of overlap among ball and hockey fans.

BAM, NHL partner on Web video (Sports Business Journal)

1 comment:

krister said...