Want to watch NFL games (that’s American Football to most folks) over the web? Well, now you can, sort of (Ars Technica).
First, you’ll have to be based in the U.S. Second, you’ll need to be a current subscriber to DirectTV’s $269 satellite package. Lastly, you’ll need to pony up an additional $99 per year. Once you’ve met all of these criteria, you can then watch NFL games streamed to a Windows PC (Internet Explorer only).
As Josh Catone writes, over at Read/WriteWeb:
If that sounds like a bum deal to you, that’s because it really is. Compared to Major League Baseball, a pioneer in online sports streaming, the NFL package sounds just awful. As a New York Yankees fan living outside of their local market, I rely on baseball’s MLB.TV service to keep tabs on my favorite team. With MLB.TV for under $100 per season I can watch any out of market game streamed live, or watch full archives of completed games for the entire season, including edited/condensed games which show only the outcome of every at bat.
Josh then goes onto make the point: why would anybody want to pay to watch games online, if they’ve already got access via satellite?
It’s clear that the NFL’s crippled online offering is all about respecting its exclusive DirectTV partnership and controlling access to “out of market” games i.e. matches that aren’t shown on local TV.
Consumers know that this isn’t in their interests and are increasingly aware that the Internet provides the perfect platform for getting around any regional restrictions, with or without the support of the leagues themselves. A number of P2P services illegally re-stream sports coverage from television networks outside of the originating country, while Sling Media’s SlingBox enables users to stream their TV signal over the Internet for personal use (which could include live sports coverage).