The new head of the NFL Network announced there are no plans to move NFL games away from free over the air TV. “We have built a very good thing here by making NFL football available to as many people as possible,” Rolapp said. “I don’t see free TV going away.”
Even though Monday Night football brings in more revenue on ESPN the audience is smaller. This leaves the NFL balancing higher profits against the risk of a smaller market that could lead to lower revenue numbers in the long run.
The NFL has shown the higher viewership is more powerful than slightly higher revenue from a smaller group over the long run. “Only the paranoid survive,” Rolapp told King. “So, yeah, there’s always danger of killing the sacred cow. The trick is not allowing your concern for killing the sacred cow to paralyze you, and embracing change. . . . I you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less.”
Hopefully this is a lesson the major networks will learn as they threaten to cut off over the air transmissions if Areo wins. The short term higher dollar is not worth the long term decrease in viewership.