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NFL Games on Netflix Reportedly Considered by League

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NFL Games on Netflix Reportedly Considered by League
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If you buy the Wall Street Journal’s National Football League source, the story goes like this. The NFL is a bit disappointed with the ratings for Thursday Night Football, housed on its own NFL Network, and may be looking to sell off some more games to beef up the amount of professional football playing out on Thursday night primetime. Apparently, the NFL thinks that Thursday night doubleheaders would definitely spark the interest of viewers.

According to the WSJ, these talks are in the “preliminary phase,” meaning no actual deals have been proposed – but the NFL has discussed this with various media outlets.

Here’s a really interesting bit at the end of the WSJ article:

The league also could move Thursday night games shown on NFL Network to another channel. The network may be able to drop some games without suffering a decrease in the affiliate fees it charges distributors to carry the network, the person familiar with the league’s strategy said. If the NFL Network were to sell off all of its games, it would be forced to renegotiate its affiliate agreements.

Potential buyers of the games would likely be national cable sports networks. But league officials have also considered selling the Thursday night package to a nontraditional media partner, including online players like Netflix Inc. or Google Inc., the person said.

Netflix & Google you say? Netflix hasn’t gotten into the live TV business yet, but they have been pushing hard into original content. And there are reports that Netflix could be on its way to cable boxes, with talks with the likes of Comcast and Suddenlink currently taking place. But once again, Netflix has never made any indication that live TV is something they’re interesting in undertaking right now.

Still, the allure of all those eyes – and it’s a lot when you’re talking the NFL-watching crowd, could be a strong pull.

It’s also interesting that the NFL and Google have been talking about bringing NFL Sunday Ticket to YouTube, as the NFL’s contract with current provider DirecTV is set to expire at the end of next year.

Of course, all of this possible NFL goes online streaming talk is moot if the NFL isn’t really considering doubling up on Thursday night’s slate of games. And according to the NFL, we’re all barking up a tree that doesn’t exist.

Check out what NFL League Office PR guy Brian McCarthy had to say on Twitter:

Also, at least according to McCarthy, there is no ratings problem with Thursday Night Football…

Still, it would behoove a PR guy to be pretty aggressive in dispelling any rumors about adding extra games to Thursday night – the NFL’s version of an automatic handicap.

Just take what wide receiver Anquan Boldin had to say recently about Thursday game, player safety, and the NFL’s priorities:

“There are some things that just don’t make sense to me. I mean if you’re so concerned about player safety, then why do you have every team in the league playing on Thursday night when they just competed on a Sunday, knowing how difficult it is for guys to get back to being healthy after playing on Sunday? Guys really don’t feel like they’re back till probably Thursday or Friday to prepare for that next week.”

And I’m sure that Anquan Boldin isn’t the only player who feels this way. Any talks about pushing more games to Thursday have to be very, very quiet.

Having said that, I hope everyone enjoys the Seahawks and Cardinals tonight.

Image via Rajiv Patel, Flickr Creative Commons

NFL Games on Netflix Reportedly Considered by League
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