Verizon will continue streaming football games for the next few years, but its new deal with the National Football League isn’t an exclusive arrangement. The soon-to-be-official agreement, according to Bloomberg, expands upon the number of devices Verizon can stream games on while allowing the league to welcome additional partners. Both sides get what they want, and overall the new deal should greatly benefit consumers.
The length of the new deal and its value are unknown; however, those familiar with the extension have confirmed the NFL will be able to seek more partnerships.
Several of the previous contract’s restrictions are planned to be removed, and that includes the frustrating stipulation in which Verizon is the exclusive home for professional football on mobile devices. Verizon, for a number of years, was the only place to watch live games on a phone or tablet with a display measuring 7 inches or below. The language of the expiring deal meant only Verizon customers could stream games on their mobile devices every Thursday, Sunday, and Monday throughout the regular season and playoffs.
Verizon, while losing exclusivity, does get to add more devices to its lineup. The company will be able to let its customers stream games on their televisions.
With the rise of video streaming, the NFL doesn’t want to limit itself by locking into a long-term deal with just one company. Not giving Verizon exclusive streaming rights allows the league to bring its content, which is unquestionably valuable in the United States, to more platforms. It should mean media and tech companies are prepared to submit offers to claim football games for their respective platforms. Prior to Amazon winning streaming rights for Thursday matchups, Google and Facebook were among those engaged in a bidding war.
Now that Verizon doesn’t have a tight grip on each and every football game, we could see wider distribution for the NFL’s live programming. Games could appear on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other places. Broadcast and cable partners, too, would benefit since even they couldn’t put games on mobile devices due to the league’s previous deal.
In 2018, expect there to be a lot more football available on every device imaginable. And you’ll be able to enjoy it without having to be one carrier’s customer.