The Super Bowl, long the most-watched television show in the U.S. and which last season drew a record 111 million viewers, will be streamed live online for the first time this season. It’s a major shift in thinking for event sports broadcasting that should provide a test case that could influence the future of live sports on the Internet. NBC, which is showing this year’s game February 5, announced today that the network’s telecasts of the playoffs and Super Bowl will be accessible on NBCSports.com, NFL.com and via Verizon’s free NFL Mobile app. The initiative, called NBC Postseason Extra, features four games: It launches January 7 with NBC’s wildcard doubleheader, then continues with the Pro Bowl on January 29 and then the Super Bowl. The streaming feed includes alternate camera angles and highlights, stats and Super Bowl ads one sees on the regular broadcast. The network has been streaming its flagship Sunday Night Football franchise, and clearly brass hasn’t seen much cannibalizing. “Whether it’s just for a quarter if somebody has to run out to the store to get something they forgot, now they can stay connected to the game,” said Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s SVP Media Strategy and Development. “With such a big television audience, it will be interesting to see the expanded reach.” The announcement comes almost a week after the league re-upped with broadcast partners NBC, CBS and Fox on a nine-year rights deal that is is reportedly worth $27.5 billion.
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