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David Talbot

A View from David Talbot

Is Google Eyeing NFL Programming?

If Google claimed ownership of comprehensive Sunday football coverage, Google Fiber – and TV dongles – would be an even better deal

  • August 21, 2013

One clearly disruptive player in Internet communications is Google Fiber ( see “When Will the Rest of us Get Google Fiber?”) which is showing it’s possible to provide ultra-fast Internet in the United States for far less cost than people are paying now for slow service.    The rub is this: most people want television with their Internet. While Google did strike some content deals to offer TV with Google Fiber, the battle for Internet service often comes down to a battle over who’s got the best content package – with sports channels being particularly in demand.

That’s why this post in All Things D intrigues. The writer suggest suggests  Google may be interested in buying the rights to the NFL’s “Sunday Ticket” package, now offered by DirecTV, which gives football addicts every game televised in other markets, together with all manner of ways to consume game highlights.   The nub of the piece:  ”Today, according to sources, Google CEO Larry Page, along with YouTube content boss Robert Kyncl, met with a delegation from the NFL led by commissioner Roger Goodell. And the Sunday Ticket package was among the topics of discussion, according to people familiar with the meeting.”

A Google spokesman, Jay Nancarrow, said the company had no comment on the report.  But if Google/YouTube plunked down the cash for “Sunday Ticket”–and folded it into their TV and fiber offerings–it would certainly help accelerate the course of Google Fiber’s Internet disruption in the U.S., even if some of the company’s ideas for Internet expansion abroad are a bit more outlandish (see “African Entrepreneurs Deflate Google’s Internet Balloon ”).  And it could also help breathe life into Google’s other forays into television–a recently-announced dongle that lets you play Internet video on your TV (see “Google Launches a Dingle to Bring Online Video to TV”), and the set-top boxes called “Google TV” that have so far struggled in the marketplace (see “Google Breathes New Intelligence Into its TV”).

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