Patriots' Jonathan Kraft Opines On State Of NFL Business, Tech, Job Of Roger Goodell
Patriots President Jonathan Kraft said while fan engagement is always a worry, the business of the NFL is "quite strong" and game telecasts are "still far and away the No.1 rated product on television." Kraft, appearing Thursday on the "Bloomberg Business of Sports" podcast, added, "We’re lucky we’re in a position of strength like that. At the same time, we’re not naïve to the fact that the way our audience wants to consume our product and interact with our product is definitely changing, and changing at a pace that’s faster than it’s been in the past, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure we’re meeting their needs.” Kraft said the league’s digital deals could mean "nine-figures of revenue." Kraft: “The most important thing going forward in the future is to really refine each of these platforms as a distribution model for what they’re best at.” He said the “real future for us is we can start to develop an understanding of each fan” of the NFL “on an individual basis and then how we can monetize their consumption of content in a way that’s much more personal to them.”
KEEPING UP WITH TECH: Kraft said of technology changing entertainment products, "Everything in that space presents huge opportunity for us." Kraft: "The engagement is there. We continue to do things like on Thursday night with Amazon Prime and continue to change our social media rules so that clubs can package their non-live game content and really try to develop a complete understanding how people, given the technological choices they have, interact with us.” Kraft said the league is going to have to “become more varied and more dynamic over the long run in terms of how we let our fans access us.”
PLACE YOUR BETS: Kraft said of being an investor in DraftKings and its failed merger with FanDuel, “We invested a long time ago and fortunately, we’re happy with our investment. Putting (DraftKings and FanDuel) together would have been the right thing for the market. The government has spoken and in their wisdom determined that they shouldn’t be together, but the product of daily fantasy is absolutely going to exist. The two of them coming together rather than spending money beating each other up -- you would have seen more and more invested in that innovation.”
ROGER THAT: Kraft said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a “very difficult job.” While it was "pretty clear we disagree vehemently about how the air pressure situation was handled," there is a “lot more that goes into being” commissioner. Kraft added, “Roger is the commissioner of the league and on a number of fronts, he’s really helping the league advance our business and making sure that we’re at the forefront of sports and entertainment." Kraft: “He’s moving the league forward very effectively” (“Bloomberg Business of Sports,” BLOOMBERG.com, 9/21).