The MLB, NHL and NBA recently teamed up with Time Inc. to launch 120 Sports, an online hub that provides sports video content across a variety of platforms. This announcement followed the launch of NFL Now, a similar digital network that promises football fans the ultimate viewing experience. Both networks are examples of how American sports teams are attempting to keep up with technology, while providing fans with quality viewing experiences on multiple platforms.
According to the 120 Sports homepage: “At launch, content partners will include 120 Sports equity investor Time Inc. (owner of Sports Illustrated) as well as the NHL, NBA, MLB.com, NASCAR and leading collegiate conferences via Campus Insiders (a joint venture between IMG College and Chicago-based digital sports media company Silver Chalice).”
Although most of these networks are restricted from playing live games due to contracts with TV broadcasters, MLB.TV will offer most regular season games to watch live, minus a few blackout restrictions.
The NFL is not expected to stream live games.
Engadget reports: “NFL Now General Manager Cory Mummery said to us, ‘The NFL is very happy with our long-standing relationships with our broadcast and cable partners, and NFL Now should serve as an additive experience to live television consumption.’”
Since the NFL’s business with U.S. cable/satellite providers and networks is worth billions of dollars, it is unlikely that these contracts will change anytime soon.
While NFL Now is not planning to include live games in the U.S., it may consider offering live content to international fans. It seems that Americans are okay with this, as market research shows that most Americans still prefer the traditional way to view sports: at home, on the couch, on a big screen TV.