One of the NFL’s greatest challenges is finding long-term solutions to maintain its mass appeal as a cable-cutting generation watches less programming on traditional television.
That’s the thinking behind the $50-million deal the league struck to have five Thursday night games streamed on Amazon, in addition to being available on regular TV. For now, the revenue is fractional when compared to the money from the networks, but that’s less important to the NFL than gauging audience response as it sets a course for when all games eventually require paywall access.
The fact is, the league has no clue how millennial trends will play out through the years, so it’s desperately seeking answers.
One extreme measure it took was to go into homes to study how people watch games. As NFL COO Tod Leiweke told the recent Geek Wire Sports Tech Conference, the decision to reduce commercial breaks from five to four per quarter this season was based on findings from eye-tracking technology that monitored viewing habits.
“It’s very, very hard to tell, in this rapidly changing world, what this is all going to look like in 2025,” Leiweke said.
How tall will the NFL be standing then? Stay tuned.