Here we are again, that time of year. Time to watch Rex Ryan inch closer to his almost inevitable heart attack, and for Ray Lewis to absolutely crush the all time record for ‘Most times being second guy in on a tackle’. As the NFL season approaches, across the entire globe prices are dropping as companies and services react to this morbid global recession by, you know, giving us all a break. Not the NFL!
Last season the NFL charged an already exorbitant $239 for access to NFL Game Pass, an internet streaming service allowing you to watch any NFL game, as long as you were outside the United States. This season? After a spring break where the NFL edged close to not being played at all, the suits in the corner offices of the NFL upper echelons deemed it pertinent to charge Joe Punter NFL fan an incredible $279 to watch their games this coming season. Yes, that’s right, the NFL is charging $40 more to watch their product this season.
As you pick your jaw from the floor, perhaps it is best to consider, we should not be shocked or dismayed by this greedy display from a sport whose players and owners recently threatened to cancel the entire season because they couldn't agree how to chop up their share of $9 billion dollars extra cash. Yes, as you tried to decide if you could afford the twelve inch Subway meatball marinara, or if you should frugally stick to the six inch, the millionaires boys club known as the NFL was arguing how to split $9 billion amongst themselves. And now they want to charge you close to $300 to watch their games on your computer. Whilst this column is not entirely sure what all the above means, in terms of life lessons, it is pretty sure this is all part of the forthcoming apocalypse, and also part and parcel of the Fundamentalist terrorist manual, ‘Why we hate America’.
The NFL is setting new standards for greed.
The NFL’s incredibly brazen, arrogant pricing is undressed further by their dramatically more reasonable MLB counterparts. This season MLB TV, the superior baseball version of the football streaming site, cost $99. To put that in perspective, you could watch 162 Boston Red Sox games at $0.60 a game, or 16 New England Patriots games at $17 a game. Imagine there were 162 Patriots games. If that were the case, you would be paying $1.72 on NFL Game Pass to watch those, compared with $0.60 to watch the Sox. You will probably agree, a pretty shocking cost disparity no matter what way you look at it.
The NFL are basically doing two things, by pricing their product so highly. First of all, they are only servicing a very small niche group. It is not a shock that much of their European advertising is done in The Financial Times. They are aiming at white collar, upper middle class customers. The NFL apparently doesn’t care about the young, students, middle to lower class, blue collar workers or, perish the thought, the unemployed. This is a completely indefensible strategy, and amounts to strange behavior considering football is, in so many areas in the States, traditionally a blue collar game.
Apart from pricing pretty much everyone out bar the upper middle class, the other main outcome of the NFL’s greedy pricing plan is, they are sending thousands of fans looking for NFL games elsewhere online. With so many readily available free streaming sites currently ‘doing the rounds’, you would think the NFL would want to encourage people from all walks of life to watch the legitimate service by keeping it reasonably priced. Instead the NFL took what was already a very expensive option and then increased it up another $40. Brilliant planning, guys! Really fantastic, outside the box, creative marketing of your product.
The NFL planning and strategy here is not only greedy, it is also stupid. If they charged a reasonable price, they would draw in thousands of fans worldwide to watch their product. Instead they are forcing thousands into the arms of the free internet streaming sites. The NFL has absolutely no way of shutting down, for example, a streaming site based out of Taiwan, or Thailand. Or even Sweden. If they just reached out to the NFL fans worldwide with a fair, reasonable pricing plan, they would draw those fans back in. Instead, their arrogant pricing is ironically going to cost them millions of dollars.
In this time of recession, with people worrying about paying the rent, filling their car with gas, with people worrying about their livelihoods, for the NFL to increase an already ludicrously expensive package is nothing short of disgusting.
We will leave the final comment to an NFL fan who was writing on a European NFL forum. His comment below echoes the feelings of thousands of NFL fans across the World. We can only hope the NFL is listening.
''NFL Game Pass? $300? No thanks. Time to search out the freebie streaming sites.''