The Future of the ‘ManCave’ and Yahoo’s 20 Million Dollar NFL Bet

Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo scored her first NFL touchdown this weekend and on the way she just may have redefined sports media and the hollow ground known as the ManCave.




With 15.2 million unique viewers, 33.6 million video streams, and over 460 million total minutes of video consumed, this past weekend Yahoo streamed the Buffalo/Jacksonville game over multiple channels. Yahoo paid 20 million for the rights – but when you look at the numbers it was a huge win, particularly when you consider that the two teams that played Buffalo and Jacksonville are small market teams with losing records. Plus it opened up the NFL to 180 countries.

With 10 to 20 million viewers per minute on TV versus the 2.3 million Yahoo streaming viewers, nothing beats the power of the NFL on TV; however, suddenly a new distribution medium has been thrust onto the scene and it is has the potential to forever change sports consumption. The game was made available for live streaming on Yahoo apps for iPhone and iPad, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Tivo, Roku, Xbox 360 and on the newer platforms like Samsung and Vizio smart TVs. 

Some media have reported the numbers to be inflated, however the net results seem to be a resounding success. See this article from the verge .

So what is the future of sports streaming? Golf is already doing it on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass and our client the Quicken Loans Open live streamed their tournament @ the Robert Trent Jones Club this summer. Golf is one thing, but this is the NFL. The biggest pay day in sports media.

Digital analytics can give you the ability to drill down to the individual, and imagine the marketing potential if NFL fans could be delivered custom, relevant, personalized messages to their cell phones as they watch the game…while doing honey do’s?

As Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s SVP of Mobile and Emerging Products said, “You can talk about millennials and cord-cutting, and we’re starting to see that the medium by which audiences consume content has fundamentally shifted. Millennials are not being addressed by TV at all; their consumption is much more online and on devices. We’re all looking at that as a massive opportunity…”  

It is common knowledge among media professionals that live sports is non DVR-able, and for the sports fan, game time is appointment viewing with family and friends. If sports anywhere, anytime becomes a reality what will become of the Networks? Not to mention, the sanctuary known as the ManCave?