Why NFL Games May Be Crucial to the Survival of Broadcast Networks

A New York-based media professional, Keith Clinkscales has accrued over 20 years of industry experience. Keith Clinkscales leads Shadow League Digital (SLD), a multi-platform content creation company, which he founded in 2011, as the CEO. Created in partnership with ESPN, SLD hosts a blend of cultural and sports news from the NFL and NBA.

The NFL announced a new telecast deal worth $113 billion in March 2021. Broadcast partners include ESPN, Fox, NBC, and CBS, as well as ABC and Amazon, from 2023 through 2033, which spreads NFL content more broadly. The persistent drop in telecast ratings from award shows to live entertainment has sent shockwaves through the television sector. The survival of broadcasting networks increasingly depends on professional sports, namely the NFL. According to Nielsen, 114.4 million people watched Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, an all-time high. Super Bowl LV in 2021 pulled in 92 million. A drop in ratings equals a drop in future ad dollars.

Football is 12th on the list of the 20 most popular programs. Millennials make up the largest work force group, which translates into spending power. However, they are the largest cord-cutting group where an estimated 25% have never subscribed to cable. More people depend on the Internet and streaming for daily essentials, including entertainment and live sports, the top reasons people subscribe to cable. Thus, the television sector is attempting to adapt to a new reality.

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