I think what we’re seeing here is a repeat of what happened when our society made the transition from radio (as the primary electronic media) to TV. People stopped listening to sports on the radio, and transitioned to watching them instead.
I enjoy watching NFL football. I’m not a huge fan who can rattle off statistics and such, but I do like it. About 3 seasons ago, I subscribed to the season-pass and now I watch the games on Apple TV. I think it’s great. First, there are no commercial breaks, although they still show the commercial spots that happen inside the broadcast (such as “our first quarter stats are brought to you by the Acme mousetrap company”). The other advantage is that I get access to every game, rather than being limited to what the channels in my area choose to broadcast.
Right now, the price is reasonable. I don’t know what the future will hold. Will more subscribers cause the cost to go down, or will increased popularity mean that it will go up? I don’t know if that can be predicted. I have noticed that over the years the cost of buying broadcast shows (like sitcoms and dramas) has gone up as popularity increases. It used to be that a typical season cost about $20 ten years ago, but now many new shows are going for $50.
Before someone says that it can be predicted, I recall reading an article a few years ago by a TV executive (one who was certainly an expert in the field), where he said that streaming services were just a passing fad that will never work and basically that anyone who thinks they will work is just a fool who doesn’t know anything about the TV industry.
So, the bottom line is this: the way we watch television is changing. That’s inevitable. The public is not going to go backwards and give-up the DVRs and the streaming devices. The NFL, and other sports leagues are going to have to find ways to make that transition. Personally, I think they will.