While the Super Bowl remains the biggest live-viewing draw on linear television, CBS is touting the expanded reach of the game via streaming platforms.
In a press release, the network’s sports division said it will stream the game “across more platforms than ever,” adding mobile networks and its subscription All Access service, which was in its infancy in 2016, when CBS last carried the big game.
The NFL title game will be viewable for free to all on CBSSports.com and on the CBS Sports app for connected TV devices, tablets and now mobile phones as part of an expanded agreement with the NFL announced earlier this year.
“We’re looking forward to bringing this season’s biggest game to the biggest possible digital audience and building on the record-breaking Super Bowl streams we’ve delivered in the past,” said Jeff Gerttula, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Sports Digital. “Streaming Super Bowl LIII across CBS Sports Digital and CBS All Access platforms is a win for NFL fans.”
CBS Sports Digital streamed Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
The NFL season kicks off Thursday night on NBC, amid ongoing questions about the game’s status and direction. Two straight seasons of ratings declines have not hit the bottom lines of networks, teams or the league because advertisers still flock to the games for their potent reach, especially to younger men. But anthem protests, angst about concussions and a glut of prime-time games are among the factors that have taken a bit of the shine off the league of late.
The Super Bowl next February will follow an entire season of NFL action in which CBS games will be streamed live on All Access platforms. That includes mobile phones and tablets via the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, online at CBS.com, and on connected devices including Roku Players, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Fire TV, Samsung Smart TVs and Amazon Channels.
Streaming rights to CBS games will extend to mobile for its cable, satellite, telco and vMVPD partners beginning this season. Fans can also stream CBS games, including Super Bowl LIII, via NFL.com and the NFL app. Also, beginning this season, Verizon will stream the games on phones and tablets on a cross-carrier basis on Yahoo Sports, Yahoo, AOL, Tumblr, and Complex.
At an NFL season preview event last week, NFL media and business chief Brian Rolapp emphasized the dawn of the new streaming era, saying “it is important that we reach everyone.” While he still sees tech limitations for the likes of Facebook or YouTube live-streaming games, he said he expects those companies to be active participants in negotiations for new TV deals to replace those expiring in 2022.