For the 2019 season, the NFL has consolidated nearly all international-streaming operations for its Game Pass premium subscription service with OverTier, which will now power the over-the-top football package in 181 countries and territories.
Since 2017, OverTier has held the rights to operate NFL Game Pass in Europe, covering 61 territories/countries in the region. The new agreement expands that to more than 100 additional countries and territories, including Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. Those regions had previously been managed by Perform Group (the parent company of sports-streaming service DAZN) and powered by Endeavor Streaming (the unit formed out of Endeavor’s acquisition of NeuLion).
There are three countries Game Pass is not served by OverTier. NFL Game Pass in the U.S. — which provides full game replays and radio broadcasts, but not live-streaming of regular season games — continues to be run by the league in partnership with Endeavor Streaming. Perform’s DAZN is distributing NFL Game Pass in Canada. In China, Tencent provides a version of Game Pass targeted at native speakers and Endeavor Streaming operates an English-language product aimed at the expat community.
The NFL’s move to OverTier as its Game Pass partner in most of the world came after Perform’s pivot to a direct-to-consumer business model with DAZN (pronounced “da-ZONE”), according to a source familiar with the deal.
Under OverTier’s new multiyear pact with the NFL, it will distribute NFL Game Pass across 11 platforms, including iOS, Android, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung and LG smart TVs. Internationally, NFL Game Pass provides subscribers access to all live games, subject to local blackout restrictions.
Game Pass internationally also includes the NFL RedZone live whip-around channel, NFL Network and a catalog of original programming, documentaries, series and specials from NFL Films. During the 2019 season, 17 new installments of the series “NFL Game Pass: Film Sessions” will be available exclusively to NFL Game Pass international subscribers.
OverTier is majority owned by Bruin Sports Capital, which is owned by former IMG and Nascar exec George Pyne, with a minority stake held by WPP.
Deltatre, also majority-owned by Bruin, provides streaming of NFL Game Pass to all countries covered under the OverTier pact. Deltatre runs operations through its L.A., Turin and London data centers; other Deltatre streaming clients include Discovery’s global golf service and the ATP’s tennis service. WPP data agency Two Circles and Wavedash are the data and marketing agencies, respectively.
“OverTier has a proven track record of innovation in Europe, and we look forward to unlocking significant potential across other markets,” Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s chief strategy and growth officer, said in a statement.
Sam Jones, CEO of London-based OverTier, said the company has driven up viewership and subscriptions for NFL Game Pass significantly in Europe Over the past two seasons. Total regular-season viewership was up 46% in 2018 year-over-year, with average minutes per viewer increasing by 20%, to 62 hours.
“A lot of what we do scales pretty well globally,” said Jones. “This is Bruin’s hypothesis: that the broadcast landscape will change over time, and that direct-to-consumer will become a bigger part of the viewing.”
OverTier picks up the television feeds from the U.S. TV broadcasters for worldwide distribution. “International fans enjoy the authentic, original American product,” Jones said. That said, for the 2019 season, OverTier is testing a Portuguese audio-feed option in Brazil with in-country commentators. “Brazil is one of the highest-growth markets for this product,” Jones said. “It’s a very social media-driven market, and this is a product that’s well promoted in social media channels.”
OverTier’s apps for NFL Game Pass currently are available in six languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese.