It's time to stock up on your favorite game-time snacks and start practicing your touchdown dances. The 2013 NFL season is almost upon us. While football fans are trying to cope with the thought of watching ‘Sunday Night Football’ sans a Faith Hill theme song, there is still reason to rejoice.
Verizon Wireless and the NFL just inked a $1B multi-year contract that allows customers to stream local afternoon games via Verizon’s NFL Mobile Package. The new package expands upon Verizon’s existing deal and will allow users to watch post-season games in 2014, including something called “the Super Bowl." The new app - available to Verizon customers for $5/month - will also feature behind-the-scenes videos and news. While ATT and T-Mobile users are letting out a collective groan, Verizon customers will now be able to enjoy enhanced second screening opportunities in real time. Please allow Eli and Peyton to further explain the benefits of football on your phone.
Additionally, NFL Network’s mobile app - which was previously only available to Verizon customers - will now be available to all smartphone users. Through the network’s updated app, users with an active subscription to a participating cable provider will be able to stream Thursday Night Football games as well as NFL Network programming such as NFL Total Access, GameDay, and NFL RedZone (provided you have the proper programming package with your cable provider). The new “multi-provider” app is a significant step forward for the network as it will allow them to offer one application to all its subscribers instead of a separate app for ATT, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc. This will also allow them to easily track customer data and downloads.
But wait, there’s more.
“NFL Sunday Ticket”, a subscription-based NFL package currently available exclusively to DirecTV customers, was one of the topics recently discussed at a meeting between NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and Google CEO, Larry Page. DirecTV’s current distribution deal – which costs them $1B a year – is up for renewal in late 2014. While it’s too early to tell, some speculate that Google is interested in bidding on the rights to “Sunday Ticket”, which could have a huge impact on live sports distribution.
Television content has shifted to online platforms like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube and we’ve even seen programming available exclusively through the web (thank you Amazon and Netflix). Live sporting events have started to make that transition, but it’s largely still in a transition period. The current trend shows sporting content being distributed via mobile apps, but will that trend continue? Or will Google take a plunge into live sports by streaming content via an exclusive distribution deal with the NFL? And will Faith Hill bounce back and find another sports anthem to sing? These are the questions only time will tell.