Verizon and the NFL have reached an agreement to continue streaming live games on mobile devices. The multi-year deal, which builds upon their partnership started in 2010, extends where Verizon can distribute games but they’re no longer exclusive.
Both in-market and national games from the preseason, regular season, and playoffs are available to everyone regardless of the network they’re on. Verizon will allow football fans to stream games through NFL Mobile, Go90, Yahoo, and Yahoo Sports apps. With the extension beyond the NFL Mobile app, Verizon says it can reach a massive digital audience normally touching 200 million people every month.
Until now, you were required to be on Verizon’s network to stream games on a phone. That’s not the case anymore. Beginning in 2018, you just need to go through Verizon’s apps for access even if you’re not a customer. The deal takes affect with the upcoming playoffs, meaning Super Bowl LII on February 4 will also be a lot easier to stream.
The NFL is keeping rights to stream games on computers and other connected devices, including televisions. Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football are available on their respective broadcasters’ platforms, but you can’t stream those primetime games on phones. CBS and FOX, who normally televise Sunday afternoon games, have also been constricted by the previous deal Verizon had.
DirecTV, meanwhile, operates the popular NFL Sunday Ticket package to provide every out-of-market game on every device. Nothing about Verizon’s new deal appears to be affecting any of the other partners, at least on the surface.
Specific terms, such as money and years, weren’t shared by Verizon or the league. Sources say the deal sees the NFL getting $500 million per year for five years. So, while losing exclusivity, the company is paying more money to hold streaming rights.
Television ratings might be a little down, but professional football remains the most-watched programming in the United States. People just can’t get enough of the NFL. More than half of every year is dominated by headlines relating to the league. And it’s why technology companies have wanted to get in on streaming games.
The latest deal for Verizon proves that, while the league has been dealing with several controversies in recent years, there’s still plenty of interest from potential partners.
In 2016, Twitter jumped at the opportunity to stream ten games. And, before that, Yahoo was home to some international games. This year it’s Amazon streaming a batch of Thursday Night Football matchups that also air on CBS, NBC, and NFL Network. Amazon’s deal is limited to the current season, so the NFL will have more content up for grabs in 2018.
When someone hears that Verizon still holds streaming rights now, they’re probably immediately disappointed. But it’s actually not a bad deal for football fans. You have to use one of the company’s apps; however, you don’t have to be a Verizon customer.