After a one-year deal revealed last August, the NFL Channel delivered a curated version of library pro football fare. Without the live game coverage or studio chat shows that are the bread and butter of pay-TV coverage, the Pluto channel is designed to be different from the NFL Network cable offering.
New programming coming to the channel includes a selection of highlight shows produced to commemorate the league’s 100th anniversary season in 2019. Those offerings could get extra viewer attention if the 2020 season is derailed by COVID-19, which seems increasingly possible as infection rates surge in many parts of the U.S. NFL training camps are due to open later this months, with the regular season scheduled to start September 10.
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The extension comes as Pluto parent ViacomCBS confronts the looming renewal of NFL rights, which are due to expire after the 2022 season. The newly merged company has emphasized its plan to use all parts of the company to showcase the league, including a first this season: a playoff game broadcast by Nickelodeon. Pluto, with 24 million monthly active viewers, is an increasingly integral part of the overall mix, with CBS All Access streaming NFL games and coverage on a subscription basis.
Among the new highlight titles coming to the Pluto channel are list-based shows released last year, including the NFL’s 100 Greatest, NFL 100 All-Time Team and NFL 100 Generations. Those rankings generated a certain amount of barstool chatter among fans when they were released. Ongoing programming will also include prior seasons of Hard Knocks. HBO airs the show in its initial summer window, but NFL Films produces the show and the league controls its rights beyond premium cable.
Other shows include NFL Game Replay, SOUND FX, NFL Top 10 and Around the NFL. The channel will also continue showcasing highlights from the game dating back over a decade, and replays of some historic matchups.
“For the many avid football fans that are part of Pluto TV’s audience, having yearlong access to NFL
content beyond the regular season is priceless,” said Jeff Shultz, EVP and Chief Business Officer at Pluto
TV. “With an incredible lineup of award-winning programming, alongside some of the most memorable
highlights, replays and matchups of the past decade, we are excited to be able to offer this evergreen
content to our viewers, no matter the season.”
The channel will be continuously refreshed, Pluto said, with digitally produced recaps, previews, press conferences, moments and other programming elements.
Jesse Wallace, NFL VP of Affiliate Sales and Distribution, said fans of the league “enjoy having access to our classic games and programming year-round, and we’re proud to give Pluto viewers access to more exciting content from their favorite teams and players.”
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