It makes perfect sense when you have a penchant for control: the NFL manages its own digital operations, has its own cable network and flexes one of the most powerful licensing arms around. So why not create its own online ad network? The league is exploring just that, an ad net that would sell across all 32 team sites. Sports Business Journal reports on the discussions (a story I should have picked up sooner) last month by a nine-team panel charged with finding a median between the league control and the current decentralization. The league would sell some ads and the teams would keep some slots.
It’s a complicated move. The NFL has to navigate between those two shoals, as well as manage conflicts between league and team sponsors. If successful though, the move could bring in significant revenue by adding national advertisers to the team sites. The sites also could make money from ads sold against NFL video that would be offered; teams producing their own video still could sell those ads.
The NFL’s effort to gain some control over its team sites is playing out against the backdrop of an NHL drama over a similar issue: late last week, Cablevision’s (NYSE: CVC) Madison Square Gard LP sued the NHL over control of the New York Rangers’ site. MSG claims the NHL is violating antitrust laws by trying to control team sites.