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September 16, 2014

Has NFL REDZONE Forever Changed How We Watch Football?

“Every touchdown from every game”, a common phrase that Scott Hansen of the NFL Networks Redzone Channel repeats every Sunday of the NFL season. The billion dollar industry that is the National Football League has continued to grow and find new ways to profit each year. The NFL has embraced the Fantasy Football life style that has consumed its viewers. You may be asking yourself, “What is the Redzone Channel”. The Redzone Channel is a commercial free subscription based program that airs every Sunday of the NFL’s regular season from 1pm to 8 pm EST. The channel is a NFL entity, which allows them to broadcast parts of any NFL football game and with the ability to change to any other scheduled game without ever airing a commercial. The formatting of this station allows for only action and the ability to show every touchdown from every single game. The channel has allowed Fantasy Football managers to see all of their players perform without ever having to change the channel to another game.

The question is, what is the effect on media? Currently there are no Nielsen ratings to determine how many subscribers are actually viewing the program each Sunday. With no ratings to back the program, CBS and FOX networks can continue to sell their regular scheduled games to advertisers at the same rates. While the passion of home town team will likely not affect local ratings, what is the effect on non-local games? For instance this past weekend the Philadelphia market was privy to the New York Giants vs Arizona Cardinals on Fox and the Jacksonville Jaguars vs Washington Redskins on CBS.  What makes sense is the New York Giants and Washington Redskins are divisional rivals to the Philadelphia Eagles. What doesn’t make sense is that 3 of the 4 teams playing are currently ranked in the bottom 7 in the NFL according to the Week 2 Power Rankings on ESPN.com. The Redzone channel has now created an alternative to watching mediocre football and instead provided a platform to watch the action of every game.

If you wind the clock back a few years, CBS & Fox had the NFL market cornered. If you wanted to watch a professional football game during Sunday afternoon you had to watch whatever game they scheduled. Not the mention that if you watch every single game live at one time, you have no need to watch the postgame highlights that covers the other games. The existence of Redzone is slowly changing the landscape of how everyone watches football and how advertisers will buy football. As fantasy football and the NFL continue the upward trend, the Redzone Channel  will most likely continue to grow with it. With that being the case, until Nielsen releases the ratings or the Redzone releases a subscribers list, advertisers will not be able to establish the true impact of the channel.