20080917 nfl broncos chargers 18
The Denver Broncos offense lines up against the San Diego Chargers defense during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo. - 


Kai Ryssdal:
With the election come and gone, America can finally turn its attention to the things that really matter -- like football.
Hear me out, because the sport does share something with the president-elect.
Obama used cell phone technology to revolutionize presidential campaigning.
Tonight, Sprint and the National Football League hope to revolutionize sports broadcasting via the cell phone. Marketplace's Rico Gagliano reports.

Rico Gagliano:
My friend Jon's a football freak. When he gets a call on his T-Mobile cell phone?
The Monday Night Football theme plays. But if Jon was a Sprint customer, for $15 a month, he could now use his phone to get more than ring tones.

Dave Mellin: Tonight we will offer the first full-length NFL game telecast live on a phone.

That's Sprint spokesperson Dave Mellin. He says this broadcast represents the future of the cell phone industry.

Mellin: We believe that offering exclusive content that's the driving force behind what we're going to be offering starting tonight. And I think that will be not only true with Sprint, but probably with other carriers as well.

The key word is "exclusive." Content folks can only get from one wireless carrier. But not everyone agrees that's the way wireless media is headed. Kent German is senior editor at Cnet.com.

Kent German: I think the real future is services that you can get on a lot of different carriers.

Google's "Android" software may be the key to that. German says in the future, lots of cell phones could have it. Offered by lots of different wireless carriers. All of those phones could grab content from third parties -- like music from Amazon.com.
Meanwhile, though, Sprint's Dave Mellin hopes NFL games will set his company apart from the competition.

Mellin: We believe it's a difference-maker. It's a differentiator for us.

Gagliano Congratulations on not using the cliche of calling it a "game-changer."

In Los Angeles, I'm Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.