A new version of
came out for
). Rupert Murdoch unveiled his new,
lavishly funded sports network
to compete with
) last week. And
announced a rollout
of bone-in chicken wings; a promotion that will run through the
In other words, it's football season.
by far the most popular sport in the US.
In fact, if you count college sports and professional sports
separately, football is the first and third most popular sport --
beating out NASCAR and professional basketball. It's kind of a big
So if you're wondering whether Oregon undergrads
really need chairs with the same leather
found in Ferraris, you're missing the point. Louisville, once a
middling Kentucky commuter school, has quintupled its research
budget in the last 12 years, simply by moving games to Tuesday in a
deal with ESPN.
Viewership of Louisville games
has since skyrocketed - leading to new donors, recruits, and sports
stadiums. And some of that money is even financing efforts in the
When it comes to the entertainment industry, football is king, and
that can cause some inconsistencies. As disgruntled executives from
the content provider
) point out, Disney's ESPN gets to charge more from cable providers
than Viacom does
for all of its other channels combined
. ESPN is four times the cost of the next most expensive channel.
ESPN's practices have even garnered the
attention of the FCC
and the Justice Department. Both organizations have looked into the
network's practice of buying rights to more games than it can
possibly air, considered an anti-competitive practice. However,
there's still some market share for Fox Sports, which already has
an extensive collection of offerings in its portfolio, including a
49% stake in the Big Ten Conference.
The impact of football on the current media landscape is undeniable
- in fact, some would argue that it's literally the only thing
keeping traditional "bundle" cable packages around. Senator John
McCain, among many others, wants to allow customers to purchase
channels individually. Therein lies an elusive target for the tech
sector. Companies like
) are pursuing sports-streaming options of their own, which would
allow viewers to drop cable altogether. However, the lengths media
companies will go to protect their air-rights - Disney
to politicians who deal with this sort of thing since 2000 - shows
just how important football is to a number of different markets.
And we're only getting started.
for an interactive chart that shows analyst ratings over time.
This story by James Dennin originally appeared on
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