NFL Folds ‘NFL Now’ Video Into Main Mobile and Connected-TV Services

The National Football League has concluded that when it comes to chucking content onto the digital playing field, simpler is better.

Last year, the league launched NFL Now — touted as a personalized online video network for gridiron fans — as a new service with highlights, features and other content, separate from NFL.com and its NFL Mobile apps. In addition, the $1.99-per-month NFL Now Plus premium package offered even more, including instant in-game highlights and access to a trove of archive material.

But for the 2015-16 season, which kicks off this week, NFL Now will no longer be a separate service. Instead, that video programming will feed into the league’s redesigned NFL Mobile app and other digital properties. NFL Now Plus will be discontinued; access to that content has been merged into Game Pass, a single digital-subscription plan for U.S. fans now priced at $100 per year with access to audio-only live gamecasts and on-demand HD replays of all 256 regular-season games.

“It’s a simplification for our fans,” said David Jurenka, the NFL’s VP of digital media operations. “We looked across every single app in our portfolio and found we were due for simplification.” He insisted that the change was made not because NFL Now had failed to attract users, but to consolidate content for easier access.

To that end, the new NFL Mobile app has been rejiggered to streamline navigation and now includes different “gameday” and “non-gameday” views. On gamedays, the app will present a matchup/scoreboard page with real-time scores, in-progress highlights or live video from NFL games. On days when games aren’t being played, NFL Mobile will feature news and video about teams and players.

In another shift, this year Verizon Wireless, which has exclusive live-streaming rights to NFL games on mobile phones, is eliminating the additional $5 monthly charge for all customers. The carrier is aiming to drive up wireless data usage by encouraging video viewing on the go.

NFL Now, in addition to its inclusion on the mobile app, will be on the NFL’s connected-TV apps including for Microsoft Xbox One and Apple TV as well as on the web at nfl.com/now. Sponsors for NFL Now for the upcoming season include Coors Light, Geico, KFC, Lexus and National Car Rental.

The NFL Now lineup will again comprise content from NFL Media and the 32 teams, including a live show produced from the NFL Media studios in L.A. and “GameDay Blitz” on Sundays. Other live programming includes “The Rich Eisen Show” and “Fantasy Live,” as well as press conferences and special events including Combine Live or Draft Live.

Meanwhile, this year the NFL  in the U.S. is launching the $100 Game Pass, which merges its four separate premium-priced digital products — Game Rewind, Audio Pass, Preseason Live and NFL Now Plus — into a single service. (Internationally, Game Pass provides subscription-based access to live games.) For American fans, Game Pass includes full replays of games from 2009 to the current season, including the 2015 NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl 50, plus shows and video from NFL Films’ library.

The NFL’s Fantasy Football app will remain separate. That provides video highlights, free live scoring, player news, fantasy points projections and notifications, along with live drafts and full roster management.

In another digital development new this year, the NFL will use Zebra Technologies’ real-time location system in all 32 stadiums to track players and officials during games. That will collect data from radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags inside players’ shoulder pads to capture precise position, speed and distance stats like acceleration and total distance run. The league will incorporate that data across NFL.com, NFL Mobile and the Fantasy Football app.

More Digital

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

  • Elaine Paul - Amazon Studios

    Elaine Paul Exits as Hulu CFO to Join Amazon Studios

    Elaine Paul has departed Hulu after nearly six years as chief financial officer to join Amazon Studios as CFO/VP of finance. She started at the ecommerce company’s studio division on July 15, reporting to Dan Jedda, VP of digital, advertising and corporate development finance for Amazon, a company rep said. Paul’s move to Amazon, first [...]

  • BritBox to Roll Out in the

    'Downton Abbey' and 'The Office' Heading to BritBox as Streamer Unveils U.K. Launch

    British broadcasters the BBC and ITV have formally agreed to launch their joint streaming service, BritBox, in the U.K. in the fourth quarter of 2019. It will be priced at £5.99 ($7.50) per month, making it the same price as the cheapest Netflix subscription in the U.K. ITV will control BritBox, holding a 90% stake. [...]

  • Vobile - ZEFR acquisition - Yangbin

    Zefr Sells Its Copyright-Flagging and YouTube Channel-Management Businesses to Vobile for $90 Million

    Vobile Group, a video protection and measurement company, announced a deal to acquire Zefr’s RightsID copyright-management and ChannelID YouTube channel-management businesses for about $90 million. According to the companies, Zefr’s RightsID and ChannelID together generated over $40 million in revenue in 2018 and were profitable. The deal stands to more than triple the revenue for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content