Mobile network Verizon has announced a new five-year deal with the NFL, worth an estimated $2bn (£1.5bn), that will enable American football fans to access virtually every live game, including the upcoming playoffs, via Verizon’s various online platforms. Fans will be able to stream games regardless of their internet provider or network operator.
Verizon’s portfolio of digital and mobile media properties, which includes AOL, Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90, its proprietary online video app, will gain access to in-market and national games, including the pre-season, regular season, playoff games and the Super Bowl. The partnership will kick off in January 2018, with Verizon also powering the NFL mobile app.
In addition to the expanded availability of live games, the new agreement will provide fans mobile access to NFL highlights, coverage of NFL throughout the year and original content jointly developed with the NFL.. Verizon will continue to be an Official Sponsor of the NFL, and offer unique experiences for customers enrolled in its rewards program, as well as working with individual NFL teams on Smart Stadium technology.
“We’re making a commitment to fans for Verizon’s family of media properties to become the mobile destination for live sports,” said Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications. “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 will provide Verizon with a huge audience, and likely boost the numbers for its various online properties significantly. Previously, NFL games were subject to fairly strict controls, with fans who weren’t Verizon subscribers only able to stream games on specific days. The deal’s focus on mobile and highly trafficked websites demonstrates Verizon’s commitment to developing a wealth of content to match its broad reach, and also shuts out rivals like Twitter and Amazon, both of whom previously held deals with the NFL.
“Verizon has been a key NFL partner, both in the distribution of games on NFL mobile and as a sponsor, since 2010, and we’re thrilled to be both extending and expanding our relationship with them,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our expanded partnership with Verizon is great for our fans. Starting with the upcoming playoffs and for seasons to come, live NFL action directly on your mobile device – regardless of carrier – will give millions of fans additional ways to follow their favourite sport.”