2010-10-30

NFL Super Bowl XLV Broadcasting

I'm going home for winter break, but I need to be back in college by the end of January. I was thinking of the things immediately afterwards at home that I would miss, and I remembered that one of those things would be watching the Super Bowl with my family and friends at home. (Super Bowl XLV airs on 2011 February 6.) Now, of course, I'll be watching it with my friends here, so that makes up for it. Then, as I thought about it more, I wondered if I would need to buy tickets to attend a showing in my dormitory hall, as it would be considered a "public performance". I also figured that if there are more than 10 or so people watching, whoever is showing it would have to buy a license from the NFL to show the game.
Why is this? Does the NFL not want us to watch at all? Does it not make enough money already from ticket sales and advertising (especially the latter, as advertising prices skyrocket for the Super Bowl)? More importantly, isn't this kind of like déjà vu? About 50 years ago, live broadcasting of sports events became a reality, so the major US sports leagues (especially the MLB, as far as I know) fought hard against live sports broadcasts, arguing that it would cause ticket sales to plummet as people would just choose to watch it on their TV sets for free. In fact, the opposite happened, as ticket sales shot up because more people were being exposed to and became interested in following these sports once they starting being broadcast on TV. Now, I don't think this sort of thing can still happen, because even with the Internet, exposure to sports has pretty much maxed out, and there won't be too many new converts. That said, given that the NFL is making so much money already from ticket sales and advertising, why are they putting these kinds of restrictions on broadcasts? Don't they understand that to get even more ticket sales they should be reaching out (not blocking out) to their customers?

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