Last month, we told you about a new deal in the works between the NFL and Verizon. That rumored deal would end Verizon’s exclusive right to stream in-market games on devices with seven-inch displays and smaller. This agreement has kept other operators like Sling, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV from streaming games on cell phones even as the popularity of cord-cutting has increased. Now, Verizon and the NFL have announced a new deal that confirms those earlier rumors.
The deal will officially take effect in January of 2018. When it kicks in, streamers will be able to watch games regardless of what network they’re using. This includes all in-market and national games, as well as pre-season, playoff games, and the Super Bowl.
Verizon will now be able to distribute the games via its many digital outlets. Verizon owns Oath, an umbrella company for all of its digital content companies like AOL and Yahoo. Unsurprisingly, Verizon will now deliver games via Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, AOL, and its go90 streaming app. Games will still be available on the NFL mobile app too. Verizon’s coverage of the NFL will include more than just the games and highlights. It also includes, “coverage of NFL throughout the week and year, and a robust set of jointly-developed original content.”
Viewership has been steadily decreasing with controversies and cord-cutting turning fans away from the sport. With a reach of over 200 million users between its digital and mobile platforms, Verizon offers the NFL a lot of eyes for its product. This deal also gives Verizon a fresh infusion of highly sought after content for its digital platforms. Verizon’s Chairman and CEO, Lowell McAdam, had this to say about the deal:
The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it. We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.
The deal is reportedly costing Verizon between $1.5 billion and $2 billion according to Recode and The Wall Street Journal. The Journal also reports that Verizon’s annual rights and sponsorship fee to the NFL will rise from $250 million to over $450 million.