The network/cable and streaming overseas hybrid model
This story by Sean Ingle in The Guardian is a few months old, but I thought this bit was interesting:
The chances of a “Premflix” channel happening in England, where Sky Sports has around six million subscribers and BT Sport close to two million, are slim. But Masters suggested a two-tiered system – with some countries watching games shown by existing TV broadcasters and others streamed directly by the Premier League – was inevitable. “I’m not saying it will happen in the next cycle or when it will happen but eventually the Premier League will move to a mix of direct consumer and media rights sales,” he said. “It is impossible to say when that will be.”
We’ve all been focused on the when-will-it-happen idea of sports leagues going direct to fans, thus bypassing the networks and cable (and perhaps the newer streaming entrants). But the above scenario seems more likely for the foreseeable future: networks/cable handle the games in the home countries while the leagues launch their own streaming products for overseas.
In a way, this is a logical next step of what the leagues do now with the “all access” tiers — allowing people to see all games outside of the ones of their home areas. And those overseas “hack” this access via VPNs. Would make sense for the leagues to formalize this. That is, of course, unless the streaming entrants are willing to pay an arm and a leg for the rights overseas…