NFL Preseason Live service shows barely half of the live games
When the Saints-Cardinals NFL preseason opener kicked off Sunday night, thousands of NFL fans logged in to their NFL Preseason Live subscription service to watch a paid streaming webcast that the NFL describes as “every 2012 Preseason game LIVE or on demand in high definition”.
These fans did not get to see the Saints-Cardinals live in high definition. The live broadcast was blacked out because of broadcast restrictions. In fact, nearly half of games on NFL Preseason Live are not broadcast live because of blackout restrictions. This lack of live NFL preseason games is curious, considering the name of the product is “NFL Preseason Live”.
If you look at the NFL Preseason Live web site, their product description is pretty unambiguous. “Watch every 2012 Preseason game LIVE or on demand in high definition on your computer or tablet device,” the site says. There are no asterisks or qualifiers in that statement. Yet up in the masthead graphic of that same page, the term Live Games does have an asterisk next to it, directing you to a fine print policy explaining an extremely wide range of broadcast restrictions that ensure you don’t get what you pay for. It seems a little underhanded that no asterisk is included in the product description – the place where a person, you know, actually looks for a description of what they’re buying.
A Google search on “NFL Preseason Live” generates this phrase in your Google search results -- “Watch every NFL Preseason Game online, live or on-demand.” In the web site business, that text underneath appearing the link is called a Meta Description Tag, and Google doesn’t write it for you. A web site like the NFL wrote that Meta Description Tag themselves. Note their use of the word “every” – with no asterisks or qualifiers. This is also curious, considering that barely half of these games will be available live on NFL Preseason Live.
Yes, barely half. I took the liberty of conducting a little analysis of this weekend’s games, based on broadcast schedules and responses I received from NFL ticketing box offices. This weekend (Aug. 9-13), there are sixteen games scheduled between Thursday night and Monday night. Of these sixteen games, six of them will be televised nationally on either ESPN or the NFL Network. Therefore you cannot watch any of these six games live on NFL Preseason Live, and the two games on ESPN will not be available on NFL Preseason Live until 24 hours after the game’s conclusion.
(Sunday’s Saints-Cardinals game, broadcast on the NFL Network, was made available on NFL Preseason Live approximately two hours after the conclusion of the game. The NFL Preseason Live site claims that games are available “immediately in the NFL Preseason Live archives following the conclusion of those games.”)