When was the last time you sat through a commercial?
I can tell you exactly when it was for me: Thanksgiving night while watching the Patriots vs. Jets game.
I grew up in Boston, the Patriots are my team, I watch them play live despite the commercials.
It’s that simple.
Everything else I watch comes directly from my DVR menu, with my fast-forward finger cocked and ready. I’m a Mad Men junkie, but I’ve never watched a single commercial during any of their 65 episodes.
Advertisers know this.
They realize their hard spent dollars trying to expose you to the latest razor, tablet, HDTV, or toy for your kid is more often than not falling on fast-forwarding ears.
The difference: Sports can’t wait. I, and millions of other viewers, watch sports live so we can be part of the on-going discussion, in the moment and on the edge of our seats. Live sports is the only true reality show.
And in a nutshell, I have just explained the future for those seeking careers in sports television. Sports is the last bastion for advertisers to get in your head, and they are willing to pay a pretty penny for a slice of your consciousness.
OK I will.
Fox Sports has a reported $6 billion dollar deal on the table for the next 25 years of broadcast rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, the very same Dodgers that didn’t win the NL West, the Wildcard or the World Series since 1988.
Why would Fox offer this seemingly ridiculous amount? Because they know advertisers will pay top dollar to air commercials that people will actually sit through during Dodger games.
These guys are no fools, they’ve crunched the numbers from every direction and have concluded that paying an average of $240 million per year to host Dodgers games, and all the surrounding programming, for the next quarter century is a deal that pencils.
As the LA Times Bill Shaikin puts it, ”The Dodgers’ proposed contract reflects the sharply escalating value of live television sports in an era when viewers watch many other programs at their convenience, skipping the commercials along the way.”
Broadcasting powerhouses like NBC, ESPN, Fox (News Corp), TNT, TBS continue to invest in sports programming because they know they can sell it and make money.
The Golden Era of Sports Broadcasting
With new networks in development, technological advances that make the games even more enjoyable to watch from your couch and new distribution methods including the web, mobile and social, we continue to be in the golden era of sports broadcasting.
Just in the last year we’ve seen the launch of the Pac-12 network and NBC Sports network. The aforementioned Dodgers deal could lead to “DTV: Dodgers Television” and other teams are reportedly looking into developing their own networks.
Whether you aim to work behind the scenes or in front of the camera, new network deals and web based programming means a steady stream of jobs and opportunities. In a era best known for lost jobs, increasing debt and fears of a double-dip recession, sports networks continue to zig while the rest of the world zags.
I get asked by many: is there a future in sports broadcasting and journalism? Follow the money and the answer is clear.