Super Bowl to pay-per-view? Ex-ESPN President weighs in: “An interesting thing.”

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; ESPN president John Skipper during the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

John Skipper, a former president of ESPN, said on the Dan Le Batard show that moving the NFL Super Bowl to Pay-Per-View would be an interesting thing. Towards the end of the podcast, Skipper was asked if any major leagues would move to other platforms or companies for the money. Below is part of his response.

Skipper is a huge name in American sports television. As president of ESPN, he approved projects such as the purchase of FiveThirtyEight and starting Grantland. After time away in rehab, he served as an executive chairman for DAZN. Recently, Le Batard and Skipper formed Meadowlark Media.

John Skipper's History in Sports Media

May 12, 2014; New York, NY, USA; ESPN president John Skipper addresses the media at the MLS press conference announcing new television deals at Arena. Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Skipper recently addressed the NFL moving the Super Bowl to Pay-Per-View.
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Undoubtedly, Skipper has incredible experience in the sports world. He's been involved in both traditional media to some of the newest platforms. With the NBA re-evaluating their TV media structure, there is no surprise to the NFL re-visiting how viewers consume the Super Bowl. Interestingly enough, Skipper isn't the only person in sports media to have discussed this idea.

A Lonely Take?

Controversial star Clay Travis wrote an article on the subject four years ago. In his article, Travis advocated for the NFL to move the Super Bowl to Pay Per View from a purely business perspective.

"I asked a top television executive who is incredibly good at his job to put a guesstimate on how many people would pay for the Super Bowl compared to Mayweather-McGregor. He said he believed it would be at least four times as popular as this fight. (He pointed out that last year’s Super Bowl featured Atlanta and Boston. If just 30% of the TV markets in those cities bought the Super Bowl on pay-per-view then that’s three million viewers by itself). Assuming that number is roughly accurate, this would mean the Super Bowl could do 16 million pay-per-view buys in the United States. At $100 per purchase, we’re talking about $1.6 billion just for the Super Bowl by itself."Clay Travis,

Though the math is unscientific, the idea stands. There is a strong potential for the NFL to profit off of a move like this. Despite his controversial place in sports media, Travis spearheaded a conversation that is only bound to continue. Skipper has continued it four years later. When might the NFL explore transitioning the Super Bowl to another platform?

Will the NFL move the Super Bowl to Pay-Per-View?

The NFL recently announced their new TV-rights deal, which includes Super Bowl rights through 2033. Surprisingly, this deal did not include any Pay-Per-View rights for the Super Bowl. The NFL instead worked streaming rights into their TV rights. Platforms like Amazon, ESPN+, and Peacock have exclusive rights to specific games. Goodell and the NFL did not announce any plans for Pay-Per-View as well. Despite noise from personalities like Clay Travis and John Skipper, there is no substantive move from the NFL to move the Super Bowl to Pay-Per-View.

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