Yesterday, Roger Goodell and other evil NFL leaders met with Google CEO Larry Page about a possible partnership when the league’s contract is up with DirectTV after the 2014 season.
And it is. Today, according to sources, Google CEO Larry Page, along with YouTube content boss Robert Kyncl, met with a delegation from the NFL led by commissioner Roger Goodell. And the Sunday Ticket package was among the topics of discussion, according to people familiar with the meeting.
A Google rep declined to comment, and I’m still waiting to hear back from an NFL rep.
An informal chat is a very long way from a deal, so there’s no need to invest too much in the conversation quite yet. And I’m told that Goodell and other NFL executives are meeting with multiple Silicon Valley companies on this trip, which is one they make annually.
This is a big deal. I, for one, think that we should be able to watch everything online, everywhere. That will
soon eventually be the case. But it’s going to take major players to hop on board, and the NFL would certainly count as one.
The implication is that along with a yet-undefined TV offering from Google (Chromecast is just the first step), YouTube could stream games. Live. This makes sense. There’s no real business difference between TV and online (if there are eyeballs, there are eyeballs). Kafka notes, however, that the NFL would likely view any such deal as ancillary to its core product, which is TV packages:
Meanwhile, the NFL seems willing to consider an “over the top” provider for the service, which it views as ancillary to the core TV packages it has sold to CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.
That’s understandable. The league has agreements for $15.2 billion from ESPN and roughly $28 billion, combined, from FOX, CBS and NBC. But, slowly, eyeballs will migrate away from traditional TV (sports is the best friend of cable companies and networks right now because of the necessity to watch events live), and someone like the NFL buying into the cord-cutting concept would only expedite things.
Then there are rumors of some sort of enhanced Apple TV offering (1h:27m mark of that podcast) debuting as soon as this November. It would make sense if Goodell’s “multiple Silicon Valley” meetings this week includes a trip to Apple and perhaps a peak into Sir Jony Ive’s lab.
Anyway, keep an eye on this. The NFL poking a concussed head into streaming TV would be a big deal.