The NFL has been kicking around the concept for a while, and now the ball appears to be teed up. The Buffalo Bills’ PR team tweeted today that one of the league’s three regular-season games to be played in London this season will air in the U.S. on an unspecified digital-only platform. The October 25 Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars tilt wasn’t going to be a national ratings juggernaut anyway, but this will be a first for the country’s dominant TV sport. The Week 7 game, which will be on local television in those teams’ markets, is set for a 9:30 ET kickoff, meaning it won’t be going up against any other NFL action. So if the league’s hard-core U.S. fan base is ready for some early-morning football, they’ll have to log on. Around the world, of course, start times will vary.
The contest will be excluded from Sunday Ticket package — costing DirecTV another game after the league went to a 16-week Thursday schedule last year. Before the 2013 season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly met with Google reps about the possibility of the tech giant taking over said Sunday Ticket package, which at the time was in its final year of the DirecTV deal. The satcaster ended up re-upping with the league in October with some added streaming rights. Netflix’s name also was bandied about as a possible “non-traditional media partner,” but CEO Reed Hastings said in July 2013 that “HBO and Showtime do sports.”