The NFL is not only the most popular sports league in the United States but also the most valuable, with the highest-rated programming and the most expensive ad time. In 2021, the league signed media deals estimated to be worth $110 billion, covering 11 years, nearly double the value of its previous contracts. “If you’re the most valuable content on those platforms, you’re going to be the bulk of their investment,” said Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL.
During the 2023 regular season, an average of nearly 18 million people tuned in to watch football games across TV and digital platforms, the highest since 2015 and the second-highest ever, according to the NFL. The pinnacle of the NFL’s popularity is the Super Bowl, which is considered one of television’s biggest events. Nielsen reports that of the 30 most-watched broadcasts of all time in the U.S., 22 have been Super Bowl games.
The NFL has been at forefront of technological advancements in sports broadcasting and its move into streaming is having ripple effects across media landscape. Its jump into streaming platform has been poised to be its next frontier despite some backlash from fans. “Media is 60% of our revenue,” said Robert Kraft principal owner of New England Patriots “If we don’t stay fluid and in tune with what times are then we would have a real issue.” With tech giants Alphabet and Amazon snapping up digital rights to NFL games and Disney’s ESPN Fox Warner Bros Discovery announcing launching a streaming service tailored for sports fans it’s clear that streaming will play a vital role in future growth plans for league.
“You will see us continue to lean into digital” Rolapp told CNBC . “The trick will be doing it in a way that’s fan friendly ,and doing it in a way that continues getting as much football to as many people as possible”. The documentary provides insight into how streaming is transforming not only football but also sports industry as whole. Disclosure: NBCUniversal is parent company Peacock and CNBC