Wild card games, Pro Bowl also go digital

The Super Bowl will be streamed live on digital platforms in the U.S. for the first time, NBC announced Tuesday.

The Feb. 5 game would be accessible online for free in high definition via websites for the NFL and NBC, which is televising the event, as well as on wireless devices courtesy of the league’s Verizon mobile app.

The wild card games on Jan. 7 and Pro Bowl Jan. 29 will also be streamed.

The NFL has already put its Sunday night games on NBC online as well, complete with additional features such as extra camera angles, social interactivity and DVR-like controls.

Those features will be available for the streamed post-season games, too, but still utilize the same play-by-play team on air.

While the online stream will have a separate set of commercials, the heavily hyped ads featured on TV will also be accessible on the digital side.

Putting the big game online should help curtail piracy, a problem that has long dogged the NFL. Last year, the domains of multiple websites notorious for carrying illegal feeds of live sporting events were seized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement just days before the Super Bowl.

Streaming could cut both ways in terms of the sky-high TV ratings for Super Bowl, which reached record levels in February. While putting the Super Bowl online could add eyeballs that otherwise aren’t in front of TVs at the time of the game, there’s a possibility that some viewers could be lured away from their sets, though that’s unlikely given few would opt away from a bigger-screen experience given a choice.

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