AHL President/CEO David Andrews took in his first AHL Ontario Reign game last night; we were able to speak with him between periods. Both Ontario Reign Insider and Cody Warner of Mayor's Manor captured a lot of his quotes, but I have some interesting stuff from him about AHL streaming access.
As some of you may know, the AHL does offer an online streaming package a la NHL Gamecenter, which they call AHL Live. However, a lot of fans are frustrated by its cost: It's $349.99 regular season all access at the beginning of the year. Compare this to Gamecenter Live's $159 for similar access.
Andrews, on lowering the AHL Live price point or offering free streams:
I think we visit that every year with Neulion, who are actually our streaming partner. We had sold the rights to our streaming to Neulion. So we don't determine what the prices are. But there's discussion every year about the business model, and does it make sense? Would it be better off to have a different price point or different packages than what they're offering? I think we made good progress. We're getting better viewership every year. Our revenues are growing every year. And the quality of the streaming is so much better than it was before. In the early years of streaming, it was hard to watch. Now, it's pretty much HD-quality games for most of our buildings. And if you're watching on an iPad, it's really, really a good quality of telecast. But I hear the same thing about price point. And I think it's something we need to keep working on with Neulion.
Andrews, on when the deal with Neulion expires:
I think we just renewed. I think we've got...I better not answer that because I'm not sure. I think we got another, uh, at least three years to go. And possibly more.
(JFTC Note: The deal actually expires in 2017-18.)