The NFL has partnered with Bruin Sports Capital and WPP (WPPGY) to introduce Game Pass, a subscription based on-demand streaming service for NFL fans in 61 European markets. The league will charge fans $183/year for 300 live games, access to NFL network, NFL Redzone and shows like “Hard Knocks”. Early results have been promising for Game Pass, as the service was able to convert free trials into paid subscriptions during the preseason.
Howie Long-Short: WPP is the world’s largest advertising and PR firm; and is publicaly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol WPPGY. The company recently released its Q2 ‘17 earnings report and shareholders did not receive the news they were hoping for. CEO Martin Sorrell cut full year growth targets to between 0-1% (down from 2%), announced net sales were down .5% YOY for the 1st half of ’17 and said we could expect much of the same in 2018. Here’s to hoping the NFL sees the astronomical growth in Europe that it saw here in the 90s and 00s. I just don’t see that happening.
Fan Marino: The NFL plays their primetime games at 8:30p. While the time difference isn’t as drastic as it is for Chinese fans; European fans aren’t staying up until 4:30a (kickoff would be 1:30a in London) on Sunday, Monday or Thursday nights to watch Carolina play Kansas City. Can you fall in love with a sport when you never see the biggest games on the schedule?