Seventy six years ago this week, the first NFL game was televised – Brooklyn Dodgers’ 23-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles before about 13,000 at Ebbets Field.
Two cameras. Eight people on the crew, including broadcasters. It was a test on NBC’s experimental W2XBS station, mostly to show those at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York what the next greatest thing could be if they just dreamed big.
Sunday brings comes another NFL media milestone of sorts – an exclusive Internet streaming of a game between two of the league’s lowest-rung teams, playing in London, airing at 6:30 a.m. on the West Coast. Just click here — https://nflstream.yahoo.com/ — to watch.
Estimates are that Santa Monica-based Yahoo Sports paid somewhere between $10 million and $20 million for the rights to the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars contest from Wembley Stadium. And Ken Fuchs, the Yahoo Sports vice president of finance and publisher products, has this kind of scenario for game consumption already mapped out:
“The fact that this is the first NFL game you can watch across any device – free, without authentication (of a TV cable or satellite subscription service) – you wake up and maybe you’re still in bed when you set your fantasy lineups on your phone after hopping onto an app that checks injury updates,” said Fuchs.
“You move into the living room and the game is on your TV screen from either X-Box or Chrome Cast or a variety of options. You leave the house to run an errand or go to the gym, and you follow the game back on your phone or a tablet.
“It’s one seamless media movement and you’re not missing a play.”
Seems almost too good to be true.
Those who’ve cynically labeled this the “Millennial Bowl” or the “Cord-Cutting Bowl” overlook the NFL’s long-term goal to be a global entity, seizing the current technology is almost an Austin Powers-kind of power play strategy.