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Yahoo Sells Out NFL Live-Stream Ads After Dropping Prices

Internet media company signs up about 30 marketers for Oct. 25 Bills-Jaguars matchup in London

NFL - Yahoo - Bills Jaguars
Courtesy of Yahoo

Yahoo has secured about 30 advertisers for its global live-stream of Sunday’s NFL matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, the league’s first-ever Internet-only worldwide broadcast.

The company sold out inventory for the free live-stream, with sponsors including Toyota, Citi, Microsoft and American Express, after cutting ad rates it was asking from $200,000 initially per 30-second spot to around $50,000 apiece, according to a Sports Business Journal report following a previous Reuters dispatch on the move.

Yahoo, which describes the NFL live-stream as a “trial,” is paying the NFL about $20 million for rights to stream the game, the New York Times reported. (Yahoo declined to confirm the figures.)

The Oct. 25th NFL International Series game between the Bills and Jaguars from London’s Wembley Stadium will be available at yahoo.com/nflstream as well as via Yahoo’s Tumblr. The game kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET — the early start time for the U.S. market is one reason the NFL’s TV partners were less than eager to bid for it — after a pregame show set to run from 8-9:30 a.m. ET.

Lisa Utzschneider, Yahoo’s chief revenue officer, said the NFL live-stream presents a unique opportunity for brands to reach millions of consumers tuning in to popular programming on an array of devices.

“At Yahoo we have deep heritage in sports — we’ve been in fantasy football for 16-plus years, so this fits right within our wheelhouse,” she said. “What marketers are excited about is it’s a global live stream. We have a billion users, and they’re excited to see how this trial goes and to be able to connect with fans around the world.”

Yahoo’s NFL webcast comes after the company posted third-quarter earnings below Wall Street expectations. It disclosed a write-down of $42 million for “Community” and two other original long-form scripted series, with CFO Ken Goldman telling analysts Yahoo “couldn’t see a way to make money over time” on the content.

Advertisers signed for Yahoo’s NFL live-stream include: American Express, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Bose, Burlington Stores, Cadillac, Chrysler, CiCi’s Pizza, Citi, CompareCards.com, Dairy Queen, Danone Nations Cup, eHealth.com, Emirates Airline, Esurance, KFC, Kohl’s, Lincoln, Microsoft, Nationwide, Papa John’s, Redd’s Apple Ale, Snickers, Subway, T-Mobile, Totino’s and Toyota.

Dairy Queen is the sponsor of the pregame show, which will feature Yahoo fantasy sports personalities discussing the and Katie Couric’s live interview with former Bills QB Jim Kelly. Toyota will sponsor the halftime show on Yahoo.

According to Utzschneider, advertisers are able to select global or U.S.-only audience targeting. In addition to the live stream, the company will provide ad partners demographic and viewership data for retargeting display, video, native and search ads across Yahoo’s properties.

Sunday’s Bills-Jaguar telecast will be produced by CBS. The game will be broadcast on TV only in the teams’ local markets via CBS affiliates WIVB in Buffalo and WTEV in Jacksonville, Fla.