My kids were looking at my iPhone 4S the other day and marveling. So antiquated! So old! It was as if it had a rotary dial on it. So I am in the market for a new phone, and I am glad the iPhone 6 just game out. I got the 4S about two months before the 5 came out. What could I do, I needed a phone. But as I sit here ready to pull the trigger on a new one, I think I better go with the 6 Plus. I don’t always believe bigger is better, but thanks to the new NBA TV contract, in this case I think it is.
Let me explain. The new contract, which is worth $24 billion over 9 years, grants ESPN the right to stream games to fans in a new “over the top” service on the web. The difference here is that the potential “over the top” customers don’t have subscriptions with either a cable, satellite or phone company. The carrier, in this case ESPN, will be able to stream the game to you for a fee. NBA commissioner Adam Silver loves the idea. “There is a millennial consumer out there,” Silver said at a press conference Monday, “ who has a different approach to the traditional cable or satellite package.”
True this is a new revenue stream for the rights holders, but in this deal the league will also have an ownership stake in the service.
The reason is simple and somewhat ironic. The younger generation of viewers is cutting the cord. All cords actually. The phone, the TV, the computer…none of them are attached to the wall anymore. But here is where it gets ironic; one reason people are fed up with cable is the ever-rising price of watching your favorite shows or teams. The bill never gets smaller in part because the rights fees paid never go down. Many of the aforementioned millennials are never even signing up for cable or satellite TV. They watch shows and games on their laptops, tablets and, of course, their phones.
The rights holders must follow the money and if the next generation of sports fans are going to watch sports on a relatively tiny screen, then the ESPNs and FOXs of the world are going to monetize it and so are the teams. Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis summarized the importance of the digital rights, “There are hundreds of millions of people that pay for television. There are billions of people paying for the mobile experience.”
Now do you see why I feel like I must get the 6 Plus? The 6 has a 4.7 inch screen, the 6 Plus is 5.5 inches. Size matters – especially if I am going to be watching games on there.