Fox Sports will use Super Bowl XLVIII as a showcase for its online and mobile authentication service for pay-TV subscribers, offering a free, one-day “preview” of Fox Sports Go during TV’s biggest event.
As previously reported by Variety, Fox will stream the Super Bowl — including the halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers — live from East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2. This year’s NFL title game pits the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks.
The special preview of Fox Sports Go will allow all users in the U.S. to access content from 12 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, Feb. 2, until 3 a.m. Eastern on Monday, Feb. 3. The live stream of Super Bowl XLVIII will be available on iPads in the Fox Sports Go app and on desktops at FoxSportsGo.com, only within the United States. However, because of the NFL’s deal with Verizon Wireless, Fox does not have rights to stream the Super Bowl to smartphones; to watch the game on a phone, fans must to subscribe to the NFL Mobile from Verizon service.
Ordinarily, the Fox Sports Go service is accessible only to subscribers of pay-TV providers. Today, that’s limited to six providers: Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Cablevision Systems, Suddenlink, WideOpenWest and Midcontinent. Fox restricted access to the online video streams of the NFC playoff games this year to those partners.
The goal is to encourage more cable, satellite and telco TV partners to sign up for the authentication service, said Clark Pierce, senior VP of mobile and advanced platforms for Fox Sports. “We want to showcase the product. This is as good an opportunity as we’re going to get,” he said.
As for the famous Super Bowl ads, online and mobile viewers will not see exactly the same ads that appear in the TV telecast. Fox is selling the digital inventory separately from the linear feed. While the TV inventory has long been sold out since early December “we are still working on digital,” Pierce said, declining to identify advertisers for the Internet feed. (Meanwhile, both YouTube and Hulu are hosting Super Bowl ads on their websites.)
In 2012, NBC was the first broadcaster to stream the Super Bowl on the Internet for free, attracting 2.1 million users. CBS followed suit with last year’s Super Bowl, and 3 million users watched the live stream on CBSSports.com, up 43% from the previous year.
Fox’s webcast will feature two separate live streams of Super Bowl XLVIII: the English-language telecast and the Fox Deportes telecast in Spanish. That marks the first time the Super Bowl will be televised and streamed in Spanish in the U.S. Both NFL.com and SuperBowl.com will link to Fox Sports’ live stream of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The free preview of Fox Sports Go will carry additional Super Bowl-related programming, including the Fox Super Bowl Sunday Pregame Show and content from Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.
Launched in October 2013, Fox Sports Go provides live streaming of Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and select Fox Sports broadcast events and shows. Originally, Fox Sports had hoped to launch the authenticated video service when it launched the FS1 and FS2 sports networks in mid-August of last year.
Technology partners Fox is working with to stream this year’s Super Bowl include content-delivery network provider Akamai Technologies; Comcast’s ThePlatform video publishing platform; and Anvato, a provider of video-management and ad-insertion software.