If you’re a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan living in Boston, there’s no better way to catch Peyton Manning gesticulating wildly before each snap of the ball than with DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. Some subscribers to DIRECTV’s popular package will get an additional bonus this year, as the NFL and DIRECTV have announced that those signing up for the satellite TV provider’s SuperFan package will be able to watch the games streamed live to their PC. This is the first time the NFL has experimented with streaming live football games in the US, and it could be a prelude to expanded offerings similar to those offered by Major League Baseball.
This season, the NFL and DIRECTV will be streaming every game in the Sunday Ticket package, along with the stats-heavy Red Zone Channel. There are a couple of caveats, of course. SuperFan costs $99 on top of the $269 price tag for Sunday Ticket. And if you’re a Mac or Linux user, take note: streaming requires Windows XP or Vista along with Internet Explorer 6 or 7.
The platform requirements and the $368 price tag provide a steep barrier to entry for the NFL’s streaming package, but that may be exactly what the NFL wants. The NFL has taken a very protective approach to online video, more so than just about any other sports league. That’s why you’ll be hard pressed to find any recent game footage online anywhere other than NFL.com.
Case in point: in May, the NFL issued a new set of rules governing online video footage. Practice and press conference footage is restricted to 45 seconds per day and must link back to NFL.com. That 45 seconds of footage won’t be around for long, either: all video and audio clips have to be removed within 24 hours of being posted. Game footage for web sites other than NFL.com? Forget about it.
Contrast the NFL’s position to that of the NBA, which has its own channel on YouTube; Major League Baseball, which streams every regular season game to MLB.TV subscribers; and the NHL, which began streaming to Comcast subscribers a couple of seasons ago and will let Slingbox users share video clips online.
[Via Ars Technica]