by Alex Lloyd Gross
15 years ago you could watch your home teams play a professional football game over broadcast TV, for free. Now, fans are being held hostage by having to pay a subscription service to Peacock ( NBC) if they want to see a crucial playoff game involving the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, if they do not live in the immediate area of these teams. It’s not available anywhere else, which is pissing off millions of football fans, including US Congressman Pat Ryan (D-NY).
In a letter to the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell he said “You’ve decided to rip off fans by exclusively broadcasting tomorrow’s Chiefs vs. Dolphins wild-card game on Peacock. For the first time ever, fans will be forced to choose between signing up for yet another expensive streaming service or missing out on a major playoff game.”
The NFL and NBC will hope to make tens of millions of dollars at the expense of people that cannot afford to go to a game. In fact, due to the obscene ticket prices, it is doubtful that very many working families can afford to park a car and feed a family of four at the game, even if they get hog dogs and soda.
Alex Lloyd Gross File Photo-Delaware Valley News.com NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL released a statement stating “NFL’s media strategy has been to make our games available in as many ways as possible to meet our fans where they spend their time. As streaming video becomes commonplace, we are increasingly expanding the digital distribution of NFL content while continuing a longstanding policy that all NFL games be shown on free, over-the-air television in the markets of the participating teams.”
In 1961, Congress passed the Sports Broadcasting Act . At the time, the legislation allowed NFL teams to sell all TV rights through monopoly pooling, then distribute the profits evenly among all 32 teams. That legislation has come under fire a number of times, notably in 1987 when Senator Arlen Specter asked the Justice Department to investigate a new deal between the NFL and ESPN, but it remains in place for now.
Congressman Ryan is contemplating taking away the anti trust exemption which will curtail controversies like this from happening again. The NFL has make $10 Billion from broadcast rights last year.