NFL fans who do business with Verizon soon will be seeing more than Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games on the cell phone device.
On Tuesday, the NFL and Verizon announced an extension of the agreement that blurred the lines between sponsor and broadcast partner. The line gets even blurrier, with Verizon acquiring the ability to stream “Live Sunday Afternoon Regionalized Games, All NFL Playoff Games and the Super Bowl.”
Here’s the catch. Actually, two of them. The “Regionalized Games,” which commence in 2014, limit access to the games available in a fan’s home market. So if the fan lives in New York, the fan only sees the games that would be available on TV in New York.
Also, the games are available only on phones, not tablets. As phones look more like tablets, it seems odd that the ability to call someone will be the difference between streaming games and not stream games via the Verizon NFL Mobile app.
With the four-year, $1 billion deal in hand, the league can shift its focus to the national TV and streaming deal for the Sunday Ticket package. Amid indications that DirecTV may be ready to move on from its two-decade hammerlock on the ability to provide all games (subject to local blackouts) to fans, the league will have to find someone else who’ll pay huge money for the rights to package that has become less attractive given the rise of the cable version of NFL Red Zone.
The bigger point is that more and more NFL content will be shifting from TVs to computers, phones, and tablets — which means fans could attend one game and keep an eye multiple others.