The internet and television are merging. Right? It’s something we’ve all heard for years, and of course there is absolutely a lot of truth in it.
Five years ago, Netflix was a service that mailed you DVD’s, Amazon was a place you purchased goods from, and Hulu was, at best, a place to catch old reruns.
In 2016, all three companies are legitimate web content providers. The success of a number of their respective programs has placed them as direct competitors to the premium cable companies of old, such as HBO, Showtime, and beyond. With companies like HBO and Showtime having to literally change their service and business model to accommodate “Smart” TV’s and streaming devices such as AppleTV and Amazon Fire, the argument that internet and television have merged has a clear legitimacy.
However, there remains one key area of television entertainment that still seems remains strong for the cable-loyal, live sports. While the ability to “binge watch” Netflix’s House of Cards or Amazon’s Transparent provides an unparalleled convenience and accessibility to its audience, live sports presents a unique animal.
For the sporting loyal, very rarely is the convenience of watching whenever-you-want a factor, if anything it’s the opposite. Loyal sports fans plan their schedule around their beloved team, rarely the other way around. In such, the ability to see live sports, on television, remains a true holdout in the evolving world of internet streaming, with the health of the NFL’s abundance of cable packages, the proof of that.
When long-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Michael Waltrip Racing elected to shut their doors at the close of the 2015 season, long-time team investor and partial owner Rob Kauffman was one of the most vocal in the lack of “re-sale” value for any team looking to sell off assets.
It’s pretty simple math. Teams invest millions in to their race teams every year, but between the bulk of that money going in to labor, and with the team’s hard assets (cars, equipment, R&D tools) having a fast depreciation due to the non-stop evolution of technology, it’s easy for a team to have very little value even after multiple successful seasons.
Enter the recently announced “Charter” system.
A principal long established in Formula One, the idea is very simple, give a team a re-sellable, limited-access license to both participate in races and participate in key discussions with the series.