This could come as a helmet to the ribs of the uber-lucrative NFL broadcasting-streaming game and the notion of sponsorship vs. rights deals. Not to mention possibly expanding the broader sports world’s ever-growing “TV everywhere” game plan. Verizon today finalized a $1B extension of its deal with America’s dominant sports league that – beginning with the 2014 season — will allow streaming of all CBS and Fox in-market Sunday afternoon games to mobile phones (regular blackout rules apply). Not only that, but the deal comprises all NFL playoff games, including the Super Bowl. The four-year agreement expands Verizon’s current NFL Mobile package, which gives access only to games on airing on NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network – read Monday, Sunday, and Thursday night football – along with the league-owned NFL Network and its NFL RedZone.
Verizon’s billion (with-a-B)-dollar deal makes the wireless giant one of the NFL’s biggest business partners outside of its media-rights holders. It marks a significant increase over Verizon’s previous NFL pact: Sports Business Daily says the company had been ponying up about $50M a year to the NFL since 2010 — including rights fees, team spend commitments and media spending on NFL media partners – but will make a $210M payment in the just Year 1 of the new deal. A potential hitch is that the new agreement includes access to games only on mobile phones, which certainly should give rise to a kerfuffle about exactly what defines a “mobile phone” in the age of tablets and Galaxy IIIs and such.While analyzing potential ripple effects of today’s deal must be tempered until intricate details emerge, the sheer tonnage of current NFL rights deals bear a revisiting. A pact inked 18 months ago with Fox, CBS and NBC gives the league more than $3B a year from 2014-22. And DirecTV pays $1 billion a year for its NFL Sunday Ticket, which gives the satcaster exclusive rights to televise every Sunday afternoon game. (That deal expires after the 2014 season, and DirecTV has hinted lately that it might not re-up exclusively next year, possibly sharing the rights with other pay-TV outlets). And Microsoft recently announced a new partnership with the league that promises side-by-side integration of a viewer’s fantasy football stats with live game broadcasts. The Associated Press says that the five-year deal is worth $400M. Such is the bump-and-run world of NFL broadcast rights and sponsorships. How Verizon’s pending deal might alter the playing field is about as easy to read as a Peyton Manning audible.
Here is the NFL’s take on its Verizon deal:
The National Football League and Verizon Wireless today announced the renewal of their agreement with a new, innovative and expanded multi-year extension.
Verizon Wireless, the official wireless service provider of the NFL, will continue to provide fans with access to America’s favorite sport, regardless of whether they are at home or on the go.
For the 2013 season, the NFL and Verizon will launch an updated version of the popular NFL Mobile app. NFL Mobile from Verizon will continue to offer exclusive access on phones to Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football game coverage, NFL Network and NFL RedZone. The new NFL Mobile from Verizon will include improvements and enhancements that give fans unprecedented inside access to all the latest news, stats, exclusive game highlights, plus an extensive collection of on-demand video featuring analysis and inside access from NFL Network and NFL Films. In addition, fans will have special access to other popular features including fantasy, customizable NFL alerts, ringtones and graphics.
Beginning with the 2014 season, NFL Mobile from Verizon will expand to include access to live CBS and Fox Sunday afternoon games within their home markets, as well as all postseason playoff games, including the Super Bowl.