Jon Taffer is best known as the loudmouth star of “Bar Rescue,” the hit show that features Taffer going into bars all over America, ripping their owners a new asshole, and turning their failing business into one that’s set up for success.
It’s one of my favorite shows on TV. I can’t get enough of Taffer walking into these bars like a bull in a China shop and scaring these bar owners absolutely shitless as he inevitably “shuts it the fuck down.”
But did you know before “Bar Rescue,” Taffer actually revolutionized the way we watch the NFL when he came up with the idea that would eventually become NFL Sunday Ticket?
Every NFL fan is familiar with DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket, the service that allows viewers to watch out-of-market NFL games that they generally wouldn’t have access to with their traditional cable or streaming package.
According to an interview with BroBible, the idea for the subscription service came about after Jon won Sports Bar Operator of the Year in the 1990s.
He was then approached by a satellite telecommunications company called COMSAT. The company was interested in buying out-of-market NFL games so that fans all around the country could watch any game they wanted. And they wanted Taffer to do a study on whether or not the idea would work.
“We determined that the industry would in fact, buy such a thing. And at the industry average capacity and what the profit margins were that the industry could afford to pay a certain amount for it. And we deemed it as very viable.”
This was also around the time that satellite companies began implementing signal compression, which allowed venues like sports bars to receive multiple signals to a single transponder, versus having to have multiple satellite dishes for each signal.
So Taffer came up with a plan for COMSAT to present to the NFL to implement their proposed new service.
But the NFL liked the idea so much that they decided to do it themselves – and put Jon Taffer on their Advisory Board.
“We put together a list of operators across the country as to who we thought would buy it.
COMSAT then took my three pieces of work, brought it to the NFL to license the signal from the NFL. NFL read the stuff and said, ‘You know what this is pretty good. Let’s do it ourselves.’
So they put me on the Advisory Board of NFL Enterprises and we turned it into and rolled out NFL Sunday Ticket.”
A shitty move from the NFL? Maybe. But when it’s your own product then you can pretty much do what you want with it.
Sunday Ticket launched in 1994, and has been available on DirecTV since its inception. In fact, when the two agreed to their last contract in 2014, DirecTV agreed to pay the NFL a staggering $1.5 BILLION per year to carry the service.
But DirecTV’s contract for Sunday Ticket ends at the end of the 2022 season, and rumors are swirling that the NFL is looking to partner with a streaming service like Amazon Prime or Apple TV for the next Sunday Ticket deal.
So after next year, we may be watching NFL Sunday Ticket somewhere other than DirecTV.
Wherever it ends up, though, we all have Jon Taffer to thank for fueling our Sunday football addiction.
And since we’re talking about Jon Taffer, here’s some of his greatest hits – country bar edition.