In media and entertainment circles, there was the vicious and greedy strain of thought that was more popular, and with remnants still at hand now and the dominant thinking at NBC's Peaock until late autumn 2020 as one egregious example, that "if we constrain and restrict niche content, we can charge each viewer something and ultimately MORE you know!" And then they would take a swig of strong coffee and go back and admire a spreadsheet after uttering such pablum and babble after nodding with wide toothy smiles.
If they knew anything about even recent history, this is the same strategy that was attempted by AOL in the late 1990s so as to create a "walled garden" for a "better internet experience."
Such a strategy of constraint and restriction worked for awhile but then with high-speed easier access starting more en masse in 2000 (I was an earlier adopter of a residential cable modem faster than DSL at the time), but then it failed and failed miserably.
When you constrain, restrain, and restrict en masse, you will ultimately enrage and alienate the audience. When you share and spread out and court, well look at the NFL's strategy and how that has worked despite all their questionable antics.
Put the greed gland first, and your ploy can't last unlike via the bigger picture.
Great for the sport of gridiron football any way you look at it, CFL or no CFL, even though a lot of people watching don't care about football, it's just the "in" social thing to do in the middle of winter to say "I belong".
That's why the CFL should be on CTV for the Grey Cup instead of behind a cable wall like TSN. The CFL would get very similar numbers if it was on over the air telecast like the Superb Owl is. Typical Canadiana, eat their own
Of course any rating with the pandemic with people couped up in their abodes in the middle of winter should be taken with a major grain or two of salt. Can't get better for the tely or ratings people with a pandemic I'd say. Unprecedented and maybe uncomparable ever in terms of ratings combined with this pandemic.
I agree with you - I personally think that Fox is going the other way with the USFL - put a lot of it out there on the broadcast TV and people will come to watch - I really think that over the next 10 years the major broadcast networks are going to be putting more sports in the USA on the free side - it might not be the NHL or NBA but I think that we will see more of the lower tier sports on the free side of thing just because it is free and there are a ton of people who might not want to pay to go through the paywall -
Fox doesn't have a pay to watch streaming service. They only have Tubi which is free. For other events, they have offloaded inventory to streamers like fubotv.
Lower tiered sports are actually best for streamers - small but passionate base that is more willing to pay up. If the demos skew younger, then streaming even works better.
If lower tiered sports are on linear tv like the CHL or NLL, it is because the rights are cheap/free with good likelihood some of the costs are also being picked up.
With cord cutting/never corders, only sports that can attract mass audiences are worthwhile for linear tv. Rest of the programming has to be repeats and free/low cost sports or picked up cheaply from American/global sports networks. Basically, the model has shifted to follow entertainment cable channels: 1-5 buzzworthy shows with rest being repeats.
I'm always a bit skeptical when I see big % increases but no raw numbers. Is the average game 5% female viewer, 15%, 25%, etc. Anecdotally speaking most women I know that follow sports are heavily into football or basketball. I'd put soccer at a very distant 3rd with hockey right behind it. Baseball, of all the major sports, seems to have the Boomer-ish old white male demographic as their prime audience.