By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we do not have a great Internet plan and we don’t want to upgrade just to watch our team play on Sunday. Why is the NFL doing all these games on streaming? The Falcons should be available on regular TV! — Marie, town withheld.
Marie, the NFL, like other professional sports leagues, is aware of live streaming’s limitations. Scores of millions of Americans either don’t have access to a high-speed Internet service or they subscribe to low-end plans that sometimes are not capable of delivering a live video stream without occasional buffering and picture freezing.
But league executives are equally aware that the top streaming companies (Google’s YouTube, Amazon, Disney’s ESPN+, etc.) today are overflowing with cash reserves and they want to use them to acquire exclusive sports rights which will help them generate more site traffic and subscribers. With traditional media companies (such as DIRECTV, the former holder of the NFL Sunday Ticket rights) taking to the sidelines, the streaming money is too good for league executives to pass up. That’s why ESPN+ tomorrow (October 1) will stream the Atlanta Falcons-Jacksonville Jaguars game exclusively at 9:30 a.m. ET. The contest, which will not be available on any other national network, will take place at Wembley Stadium in London.
There is no free trial for ESPN+. (The standalone sub is $9.99 a month.). But there is good news if you live in the Atlanta or Jacksonville markets. The Falcons-Jags game will air for free (with an antenna) on WSB-TV in Atlanta and WFOX-TV in Jacksonville. The other good news here is that ESPN+ has done a solid job with live streaming to date. But the technology can still be unreliable so rural residents (and others) might have some issues with trying to watch the game.
There is another interesting twist to Sunday’s game. ESPN+ will offer an alternative telecast called Toy Story Funday Football which will simultaneously animate the game using the league’s ‘Next Gen Stats’ player tracking data. The action will be simulated in ‘Andy’s Room,’ featured in the Toy Story movie series, and will include the film’s iconic characters.
Marie, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann