Every Super Bowl Sunday is like a celebration in the United States and around the world. Regardless of what two teams are playing, it’s become a gathering – even for people who aren’t necessarily sports fans. It’s also a day when approximately 100 million or so folks gather around their TV sets to watch the game, consume tons of food, and keep the NFL’s money machine rolling.
Well, that cash box may be getting fatter, if one former television executive’s idea comes to fruition. Former ESPN President John Skipper discussed the idea of taking the Super Bowl off traditional television and streaming it on pay-per-view, instead.
Skipper said if the NFL were to ever take on that proposal, it would see a huge increase in annual revenue.
“I assume that there is some number of people… that’s the only game they watched the entire year, and they don’t want to be left out,” Skipper said during an appearance on Dan Le Batard’s podcast network.
113 million people watched Super Bowl LVII, the largest viewership in six years.
Easily the most highly-anticipated sporting event of the year in America, it’s also become a global phenomenon. Super Bowl parties were once a bit of a novelty many years ago; now they are the norm. It’s become as much of a social event as it is a sporting event, and everyone from the league to advertisers, to television networks, has been profiting from that perception for decades now.
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Skipper says that it would only make sense for The League to take advantage of the potential revenue stream that is available through pay-per-view.
“That’s a pretty great place to be for a live event,” Skipper said. “Fifty percent of the country does not want to be left out. It leads me to a slightly different discussion. If half the country is watching your game — and they’re watching it for free,— how many of those people would pay a big sum of money to watch the game?”
Skipper then asserted, “If it was only a quarter of the households who were willing to pay $250 to have a party at their house, it would still get you into the billions of dollars for a single game. And that is the single best way I can think of for the NFL to increase their revenue annual take for their clubs; is to make the Super Bowl a pay-per-view event.”
In many ways, the former ESPN executive is correct. Over time, the audience could essentially be ‘trained’ into getting into the practice of purchasing the game in the long run.
However, there would definitely be backlash from the football fanbase in the short term. Especially considering that they’ve spent generations watching the Super Bowl in a traditional manner.
What do you make of Skipper’s suggestion? Would you pay a pay-per-view fee to watch the Super Bowl?
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