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Sports Expert Jim Miller: All Sports Could Become Pay-Per-View

As the networks and cable TV continue to lose viewers and advertising dollars, sports expert Jim Miller says he can see a day coming when the various leagues leave free TV behind and make all their games into pay-per-view events.

Sports reporter and author Jim Miller appeared on the Dan Patrick show this week and noted that as the media landscape changes, we will likely see major changes in how sports fans watch their favorite games, AwfulAnnouncing.com reported.

Miller compared how many Americans buy music these days on a per-song basis from services like iTunes to how we all may be patronizing sports franchises in the near future:

I have a feeling, you know you go on iTunes and you buy an album or a song, and you pay $1.99 for the song? We could be looking at a situation where you go on your phone, you go on your laptop and you buy that game. So you don’t have an NBA pass for the entire season or you don’t have some big cable bill but you do everything from your own customization point of view. So whatever you want. And it doesn’t even mean you have to tie yourself into a particular league. Just like you go on iTunes and pick out a song, you can pick out, ‘OK, I want to watch the Warriors and the Cavs tonight, and I’ll pay $3.99 for that game or two bucks or whatever.

Miller also noted that we are in a very fluid and “dynamic” time for technological development and the old systems will likely see major changes going forward.

But, a pay-per-view model of commerce may seriously impact the financial underpinnings of the pros as well as college sports leagues. Currently, these entities make billions in upfront money from networks for broadcast rights. These same leagues then make money on the back end with ticket sales and merchandising, but if the TV networks go away all that upfront money will disappear right along with them.

Awful Announcing notes that pay-per-view sports events are well known, especially for events like boxing and wrestling. But these events are not weekly events. The question is if they go pay-per-game, will sports like football be able to draw enough viewers week after week to financially support an entire season of games?

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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