×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NFL, Verizon Set Massive $2 Billion Five-Year Streaming Deal

Telco gains expanded mobile rights for live NFL games; will no longer be exclusive U.S. wireless carrier for pro football

Verizon will no longer be the exclusive U.S. mobile carrier for NFL games — instead, the telco is gaining rights to live-stream gridiron action to any mobile device nationwide under a new five-year pact with the league.

Verizon will pay the NFL more than $2 billion under the new deal, the Wall Street Journal reported; Reuters pegged it at around $2.25 billion over the five-year period, citing an anonymous source. The renewed and expanded pact will run through the 2022-23 season. Under the prior deal, Verizon has paid around $250 million per year ($1 billion total over the four-year span).

The new Verizon-NFL deal covers all in-market and national games, including preseason, regular season, and playoff games — including the Super Bowl — available to anyone in the U.S., on any mobile carrier or network provider. The package includes live-streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football games, and the Sunday day games that air on TV in viewers’ local market.

Verizon’s rights extend to mobile phones across all carriers and across Oath properties, including Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, AOL, and Go90. According to the company, its mobile and digital properties reach more than 200 million monthly unique users in the U.S. The new NFL deal also grants Verizon rights to sell select in-game ad inventory on its platforms.

Essentially, Verizon is getting U.S. mobile live-streaming rights to the entire NFL schedule — with the exception of Sunday afternoon out-of-market games. Those remain with AT&T’s DirecTV, which has locked up the NFL Sunday Ticket package through the end of the 2022-23 season.

“We’re making a commitment to fans for Verizon’s family of media properties to become the mobile destination for live sports,” Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, said in a statement. “The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it.”

TV broadcast rights, however, are still where the NFL makes its mint. The league rakes in an estimated $7 billion per year from TV deals, including with CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, representing about half its overall revenue.

The full extent of the new Verizon-NFL deal won’t go into effect until the 2018-19 season, but certain elements will roll out this postseason. Specifically, NFL postseason games will be available on Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, and Go90 (along with the NFL Mobile app) beginning no later than the conference championships on Jan. 21.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in a statement, praised Verizon as a partner and emphasized that the deal will extend the league’s games to any mobile device “regardless of carrier.” Verizon has carried NFL games on mobile since 2010.

In addition to the expanded availability of live games, the new NFL-Verizon agreement encompasses mobile access to NFL highlights, coverage of NFL throughout the week and year, and a set of jointly developed original content (like virtual-reality experiences). Verizon has global distribution rights to the on-demand content, while the live games are U.S.-only.

Under the pact, Verizon also will continue to be the official wireless sponsor of the NFL while the telco’s media brands like Yahoo will become official NFL sponsor brands as well. Also, starting with the 2018 NFL season, Verizon will become the presenting sponsor of the Pro Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine.

Verizon formed the Oath digital-media group this summer, combining AOL and Yahoo under one umbrella, after closing the $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo in June 2017.

The NFL has divvied up the rights to its crown jewels — the live games — across TV and digital partners for the last several years. This past season, it granted Amazon worldwide streaming rights to the 11-game “Thursday Night Football” lineup for a reported $50 million (after Twitter had “TNF” in 2016). And Verizon paid the league around $20 million to live-stream a single regular-season game (the Sept. 24 Ravens-Jaguars meeting in London), paying a premium because it wasn’t broadcast nationally in the U.S.

Verizon’s $2 billion NFL rights deal comes as tech players including Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter are looking to spend big bucks to bring more sports to their digital services. Facebook is said to be particularly aggressive: The social giant is seeking to hire an exec who will have a budget of a “few billion dollars” for sports-rights deals, Sports Business Journal reported last month.

More Digital

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content