This is the kind of milestone we’ve been waiting for in digital’s evolution into a full fledged competitor to conventional TV. Yahoo will be the first to live stream an NFL game globally, across devices, and for free, on October 25. It will offer an NFL International Series game from London pitting the Buffalo Bills against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The company will feed the match through Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen, and Tumblr.
“The NFL has always been committed to being at the forefront of media innovation,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell says. “Through this partnership with Yahoo—one of the world’s most recognizable digital brands—we are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape.”
The Bills disclosed in March that the London game would be the first to be streamed, but didn’t say who would have it.
The match will be well out of prime time — running at 9:30 AM ET and 6:30 AM PT. It will also be televised live in the teams’ local markets (WIVB in Buffalo and WTEV in Jacksonville). Many analysts fear that ISPs would be overwhelmed trying to handle demand for a major live streamed event, such as the Super Bowl.
Yahoo and the NFL didn’t say how much the company paid for the digital rights to the game, or the revenue splits for advertising. But Sports Business Daily says that Yahoo’s outlay is similar to what CBS and Fox pay, and adds that CBS Sports will handle the production and provide the announcers. The NFL also reportedly is shopping social media rights for the game.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer calls this an “historic opportunity” that “marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content. The NFL and Yahoo have both long engaged football fans around the world. Our partnership provides the ultimate football experience — with digital availability, designed for the modern fan.”