NFL on PS3: It’s More than Just Madden

Okay, here’s how I see it. Online streaming content has been the poor step-child of the broadcast networks, movie studios, and other content distributors. All the good stuff goes to the cable and satellite services, and the crumbs fall to the online sites. But streaming is managing to post some impressive growth and revenue figures, and the content folks are beginning to tip to the fact that there may be some gold in them thar hills. So we’re seeing more and more experimental deals that are exploring the possibilities of letting online sources get movies and episodes sooner, or even get access to live programming.

So here’s news of a big experiment. We already know that PS3 users are watching tons of streaming content, including Netflix. So DirecTV and the NFL have joined to try something big; you can get the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket on your PS3, even if you aren’t a DirecTV subscriber. That’s access to up to 14 different out-of-market games each week, streamed live on your PS3.

Okay, now here comes the price, so brace yourself. If you are a DirecTV subscriber and already get the NFL Sunday Ticket package (either because you pay for it or got it free as a bonus), you can access the same content on your PS3 for just $50 more. I’m not entirely sure why you’d do that, unless you want to watch on some screen other than the one that is hooked up to DirecTV. The more intruiging deal is for those who are not DirecTV subscribers; it’s $340 for the season. With a 17 week season, that’s just $20 a week. (Or it’s OMG TWENTY FREAKIN’ DOLLARS A WEEK, depending on your point of view.) I know that I spend way more than $20 when I go to a sports bar in order to watch an out-of-market game. I’m guessing $20 probably wouldn’t even cover your parking at some football stadiums. And you don’t have to commit to paying for satellite service the rest of the year.

My guess is that they’ve priced this high because the revenue will be more or less gravy, and because they don’t want to have to deal with too many subscribers at first so that they can keep the scale down. But if it goes smoothly, and it appears that there are more subscribers waiting on teh sidelines for the price to come down, we’ll not only see this program expanded at a lower price, but it may blaze the trail for other sport and live programming events on streaming video.

So find four buddies who will bring a six-pack apiece each week, and you’ve got your costs covered. Are you ready for way too much football?