Why Isn’t the NLL on TV Yet?

The NLL is continuing to grow at increasing rates and with that popularity comes more spectators and followers. Though live sporting events are fun the majority of sporting spectatorship comes from household living rooms and restaurants: cable and TV broadcasting. Therefore, it would make sense for lacrosse to create their own network, just like the NFL Network, NHL Center Ice, MLB Network, etc.

The simple question: Why isn’t TLN (The Lacrosse Network) on TV yet? After all, that is the easiest way to reach out to new markets of spectators and cable subscribers.

The complex answers: TV stations are not so easily started up. For example, a sports league, such as lacrosse, cannot simply create a network name, show lineup and hire celebrity hosts to merely appear on the home screen.

Interest has to be present. Contracts need to outlined and agreed upon. Terms must be met. Finally, and most importantly, the station/league/shows HAVE TO get some sort of support/foundation.

According to online sources like  www.roopstigo.com, there is an unofficial cable tax commonly called the ESPN Tax by those in the business. In other words, cable subscribers are paying for sports and programs they don’t want. Of each month’s cable bill payment, $5.06 gets taken out of each subscriber’s bill for ESPN, the most expensive entity of the cable package.

“To attract and retain customers, they’ve paid handsomely for sports rights or even started their own regional cable sports networks, profiting from a system they call flawed.”

Simplicity here fails because of the guidelines TV contracts follow: it is near impossible (like a 9.8 out of 10) to create a separate sports tier of channel broadcasting.

The reason? From my understanding, extra abundance from those expenses pays for your “other interest” shows! (American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Big Bang Theory, etc.)

“Want an entire lineup of nature channels and no sports, or soccer channels and no politics? McCain’s bill introduced earlier this month, the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013, would offer that ability.

Cable companies are opposed to this because they’re able to bundle popular channels like ESPN with less desirable ones, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association fired back with a statement.

As countless studies have demonstrated, subscription bundles offer a wider array of viewing options, increased programming diversity and better value than per channel options.”

That is quite a confusing and broad idea. I am not in the broadcasting industry and do not know or understand everything; these are my personal conclusions.

To help put it into perspective, let’s look at these aspects:

“So why is sports on TV so valuable?
The nine highest-rated single telecasts of 2012 involved live sporting events. And while skipping commercials is so easy on a recorded program, sports is real reality TV that’s coveted by advertisers.”


If I am watching TV and have a cable bill monthly, in a hypothetical situation I pay $50/month. That comes out to $600 a year for cable TV. Each month, $5.06 of that $50 goes to ESPN, or $60.72 a year. What happens with that money?

ESPN currently holds the rights from the NFL to broadcast Monday Night Football weekly. To acquire those rights, ESPN is paying the NFL $15.2 billion dollars over 8 years, or nearly $2 billion annually! And to think ESPN still has other sports, games, and events to pay for in order to broadcast them!

Let’s take these complex answers a step further:

How does this apply to the NLL or Thr Lacrosse Network creating their own channel for television?

At the current rates of cable subscriptions, there would not be enough money circulation to allocate to an entire new network. TLN would have to practically give away coverage for free to TV providers.
In the last year or two, cable subscriptions have declined by nearly 1 million accounts because of hiked up rates. People are turning in their cable privileges for HULU, Netflix, Xbox Live and PlayStation Online subscriptions that allow for instant TV streaming from web sources.

TLN currently streams live events to Youtube where followers can watch for free. The only problem with that is only those seeking the coverage will find it. No one “channel flipping” can stumble across the featured games or conventions.
When trying to grow a league and its coverage, the league must expand to new viewers. In that sense, free Youtube streaming does not do the trick. Unfortunately, this means lacrosse fans can expect yet a further wait to see their favorite sport on mainstream TV, and those who hope/help to spread the influence will have to continue doing so without telecommunications at their disposal. The NLL has a long way to go before it is on ESPN, TLN or other channels.

Personally, I don’t find Top 10 highlights of basketball dunks news worthy. Give me a ball and a trampoline and I will perform the same dunks. For now, I shall struggle to continue witnessing the orange sphere slammed into a hoop instead of a turf-burning shot from a diving forward who was just slammed into boards moments before. I guess “different strokes for different folks” prevails by majority in this competition.

Posted in NLL