We had some big news in the streaming video world today: NFL games will be available on several streaming services in addition to existing TV networks starting in 2023, as a result of new deals between the football league, Amazon and most of the big entertainment companies. The new deals are extraordinarily expensive, costing the companies nearly $10 billion a year between them, according to CNBC, and last through 2033. Taking on such a burden for that long a time, while the TV landscape is evolving, holds massive risk for the entertainment companies.
The biggest danger is that they move too quickly to put the games on streaming, in hopes of burnishing the appeal of their new streaming offerings. That may work too well and accelerate the cord-cutting shift away from pricey cable TV. If that happens, the bill for paying for the NFL agreement eventually will have to be carried by the streaming services. And to pay for it, they’ll have to raise prices—making them less competitive with rivals like HBO Max and Netflix that don’t carry the NFL.