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Will The Super Bowl Go To Pay Per View?
John Skipper (formerly ESPN president) has had some interesting speculations on how conference realignment or a 12-team playoff could end up bringing a pay-per-view or paid service model into play for college football.
You can also factor in that Super Bowl audiences, while still humungous, have been declining steadily in recent years. Couple that with the fact that ad rates continue to skyrocket and perhaps there’s a tipping point in the near future where networks start rethinking their investment and the NFL starts wondering if it can simply make more money moving the biggest sporting event in America to a paid service or PPV model.
Science fiction fans may be wondering why this topic has ended up on a site about science fiction predictions and inventions. Well, it turns out that Dr. David H. Keller, M.D. predicted pay per view television in his excellent 1929 story The Threat of the Robot:
"...they started to broadcast other features, like parades, prizefights and tennis matches. Their charges were low, and they counted on the volume of business to bring returns. For example, this afternoon’s football game cost each person who had one of the television screens one dollar for the privilege. Of course, as many persons as could crowd in a room could see it for that dollar. Out of that dollar, thirty cents goes to each of the teams and the remaining forty cents to the company.
“The effect on the theater was at once seen, but no one realized just what this invention would do for sports. It seemed that everybody arrived at the same decision at the same time: namely, that it was easier to stay at home and see a prizefight or a tennis game for a dollar than it was to fight the crowds and pay anywhere from five to fifty dollars for poor accommodations. The attendance at all the sports fell off in an astonishing manner, and the various promoters would have been bankrupt had it not been for the generosity of the television companies.
(Read more about the prediction of pay per view television)
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