The NFL has reportedly decided to bring mobile streaming in-house, creating an owned-and-operated service called NFL+ to provide in-market live streams of games on mobile devices.
Sports Business Journal reported that league owners signed off on the NFL+ plan during their meetings in Atlanta, following media speculation earlier this year about the scenario. The price point is said to be $5 a month, though the report noted that pricing could change. Given the blossoming of podcasting as a medium, the offering will likely include podcasts along with other team content and radio streams. Under current broadcast regulations, regular season games must be offered within teams’ local markets on TV networks available without a pay-TV subscription. That means NFL+ is likely to primarily be a complement to that bigger-screen setup.
Previous deals with Verizon and Yahoo had offered NFL livestreams to laptops and mobile devices. And the league-operated NFL Game Pass offers replays (not livestreams) of full games on a subscription basis.
The limited batch of in-market rights to be captured by NFL+ are not to be confused with those of NFL Sunday Ticket, the full slate of weekly games offered nationally as an exclusive since 1994 by DirecTV. With the current Sunday Ticket contract set to expire after this coming season, Amazon and Apple are said to be making aggressive plays for that package, which is expected to net the league more than $2 billion a year.
The NFL is coming off another strong season in terms of TV ratings and has minted decade-plus renewals with traditional media partners Fox, NBCUniversal, Disney and CBS parent Paramount. Along with linear network owners, Amazon Prime Video is breaking ground with exclusive carriage of Thursday Night Football starting in September.
An NFL rep declined to comment on the SBJ report, which was published Tuesday, when contacted by Deadline.
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