Sports in America are funny. We like to say we’re Sports-Crazed, Sports Fanatics and any of a dozen different descriptions for how wild we all are about Sports. But really, that’s not entirely true.
We just allows some Sports to dominate many of our conversations. While standing back, just as many roll their eyes or just sit there eye-glazed waiting for the torture of listening to end.
In America we used to call this other half…Women.
That was how we defined ourselves. Men were all about Sports. Women were quiet about it. But this stereotype was never really true. Closer to accurate, but still not all that close, was Men pointed to the fastest Runner or hardest hitting Fighter or highest scoring Player in any of a dozen Sports that use points to separate the “Winners and Losers”. And Women focused on the Family. So Women cared when the Kids were Playing. But Sports were just other Games. And Men showed up when the Winners among Men did. The Dad who made time to help out was either the one with absolutely nothing important to do, the one who was a Loser in Worklife. Or just plain an oddity. A SuperHuman, SuperHero. Unless, of course, he was a creep.
This in Sports-Crazed America where all Men were Fanatics about it.
Yeah, our stereotypes usually fall apart this quickly. In this case, we never have been as fanatical about Sports as we sometimes say we are. Or, more accurately, as those who think of themselves as fanatical say we are.
We’re about 50-50 and that 50-50 is very close to split 50-50 down the middle between Women and Men. Most serious studies have us between 48% and 49% as a whole with 52% to 53% of those being Male.
Then we have the Sports Surveys. You know the ones. They’re the ones you see shouted every time Sports or Sports Media wants even more money. Which, yes, is every day. Not the ones that say 38% of the People in the World love the NFL. Or the ones that say there are 2 billion Basketball Fans. Or the ones that say two-thirds of Americans are NFL Fans. Even Canada doesn’t have those numbers and they love the NFL more than Americans do.
Well, maybe not so much after this year where they’ve been cut off of broadcast and moved entirely to streaming. Streaming that’s not working out real well, by the way.
But that does lead me to the changes in Sports, in Media and in Viewer Options.
We’re closing in on the first major No-Sports Bundle, Market-Name: Philo, after Philo Farnsworth, an Inventor whose work led to much of today’s television.
Philo is a Streaming Service with numerous big Media Partners which is designed to have lots of programming with a less than $20/Month price tag. And the way it pulls this off is it has no dedicated live Sports. And while Philo will be the first major offering, it will be far from the last.
Because we aren’t nearly the Sports Fanatics we often like to be depicted as. In reality, we might not even be average. There are some seriously Sports-Crazed Nations. Soccer obviously has them. Baseball has them. There are Sports-Crazed parts of Countries and in the US we have a few for various Sports. But like most large Countries, it’s tough to build unanimity.
And this is part of where Sports and Sports Media are about to take a financial hit.
We have Fans of Teams, Fans of Schools, a few Fans of a particular Sport or League. But not nearly enough general Sports Fanatics to support how much we’ve propped up both Sports and the Media that covers it. Especially generic National Sports Media.
There wasn’t enough support for one, let alone 4. ESPN/2/etc, FS1/2, NBCSN, CBSSN. Then there are Regional Sports Networks, Networks for the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Sports Networks for numerous College Conferences and even individual Schools. There aren’t nearly enough Sports Junkies in the US to pay for all of this.
No matter how much Sports Media wants a blank check and Sports Leagues and Teams want to hold onto theirs. The Networks put the NFL on notice with the monstrous new Contracts. Problem is…nobody listened. Not the NFL. Not the Fans. Not the Media who covered it, even the Media owned by the Companies whose CEOs headed off saying that’s it. No more blank checks.
Nobody listened and nobody wanted to believe. Well, nobody whose consumed with Sports. Nobody who isn’t could believe the Networks signed those ridiculous contracts in the first place.
Nobody with two working brain cells and two cent worth of knowledge on the subject could understand how, after being put on notice by the Networks, the NFL would turn around and not only let its League fall apart. But actively participate in its demise. The CEOs of its cash cows said enough is enough. We’re not Venture Capitalists. You better show us you’re worth it or we’re done with you.
Now, led by really angry Investors, that’s exactly what Networks are saying. First they said they’re not an ATM with the Thursday Night Games. Now they’re saying their days of looking at the NFL as a “Partner” are over. It was a one-sided Partnership all along. Now the NFL is just programming. And nothing else. That means it has to stand up to all of the other options available to the Networks to fill hours.
And it doesn’t. Heck, it’s not even close. Advertisers have paid the money. But they’ve had enough of it too. And if they’re not willing to subsidize the Networks’ bad decision-making in signing those NFL Contracts, Investors sure as hell aren’t.
This is now rippling over into all Sports. Between so many getting tired of subsidizing Sports they have no interest in and those sick of watching the NFL abuse everyone in sight while being lavished in riches for it, Sports is about to be crushed with backlash against its Media Friends.
Sports Leagues, Teams and Owners made a horrendous error. They listened only to their friends. To those who themselves refuse to accept the World doesn’t owe them a living or entertainment. Those dumbasses are still spouting off. Even as the damage done by believing them and believing there were alot more of them and that they’d be willing to open their wallets up continues to mount.
That so much of this points back to chasing after Millennial Males just adds to the frustration. The Guys who invented robbing music companies? That’s who your prized customers are? The guys who already were pirating streams for years.
Thinking these idiots mattered has wrecked Sports and Sports Media.
And they’re about to start taking body blows in the revenue department. Where will those young punks be then? Besides playing video games and bitching there’s nothing on TV.