Bundles Full of TV: A Comparison of Bundled/De-bundled Sports Media

Over this past weekend I signed up for the trial version of NBA League Pass, an online channel for all basketball games (including the playoffs, which my Houston Rockets are in). I was pleasantly surprised at the available features, which include:

  • Live streaming video for all 82 games for the 30 NBA teams
  • Live streaming video All-Star, Playoffs, Finals, and Pre-Season games
  • HD streaming when available
  • Mobile app that allows all streaming content

Unfortunately there isn't a comparison for football (soccer in the US). In the UK, you can only access football media content via a cable provider (Sky or BT), which bundles other sports and/or other leagues (Champions, Premier, Spanish, and others) in its offerings to consumers.

The movie/television series industry certainly has been changing to be more consumer-friendly. Netflix/LoveFilm made movie and tv series content and backlists available for streaming consumption, and iTunes is generally fantastic for top new movie releases. Netflix is even now producing original content through House of Cards, and an even bigger innovation was releasing all its content at once.

But when will football come around? Certainly the Premier League has enough power to exercise over cable providers, as well as Primera Liga. And UEFA certainly has enough power with the Champions League.

Consumer behaviors have changed and will continue to change. Consumers have less and less disposable time, and want greater control of when and where they consume content. And more importantly they want to pay only for the content they will consume.

If football doesn't want to lose fans to other sports franchises, it needs to take a hard look at its bundling strategies.

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