NFL extends, expands cell phone deal

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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.

21 responses to “NFL extends, expands cell phone deal

  1. Kind of a random thought, but Red Zone may be the greatest invention since the wheel. Damn I miss football.

  2. I hate these exclusive deals as much as the next guy, but a key point here is that tablets are not included because they were part of the CBS/Fox TV deal. The belief is that Sunday afternoon in-market games will also be made available to tablets & computers in the near future.

  3. that’s nice. But verizon really needs to improve their cell coverage if this is going to work.

  4. The service was unreliable. It often would hang/buffer, was noticeably behind the live broadcast and would constantly force you to answer the question “are you still there.” It would often become unresponsive and force restart. Was ok when it worked but that was not as often as it should have been.

  5. I’m sure they are crunching the numbers on cutting out the middle man and going straight to the consumer by simply charging for HD streaming access a la With the rise in media center devices and gaming consoles (it’s already available on the PS3 through the PlayStation store for only $150/season), they will hit more homes than a single TV provider.

  6. “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.”

    This would be great, except that the 4G coverage at most stadiums stink, & most stadiums don’t offer wifi. With a league trying to fully embrace technology, how about making sure your venues do the same!!

  7. Sure, that’s a great idea…..until you start thinking about the data usage that would be used up in streaming an NFL game on a smartphone.

    Verizon is clearly trying to come up with more ways for its customers to pay for more data access. Unless the NFL sets up free wi-fi access in stadiums across the country (like the league had intended), Verizon customers are going to pay out the ying-yang for higher data plans.

  8. NFL should expand broadcasts to other markets as well. NBA now has a good following now here in India.

    NFL streaming is a pain here given low broadband speeds. That deal with Microsoft on the new XBOX One sounds interesting. Is that similar to NFL Red Zone?

  9. It’s not that fans are finding Sunday Ticket less attractive. It’s the fact that we are in a recession, and they are trying to charge us $200, or $300 if you want it on your phone/tablet for transplant fans to watch their home town team play. I’m a Buffalo Bills fan, stationed at Little Rock AFB. I’m also a season ticket holder. If I was married with kids, I wouldn’t be able to afford my $1,200 season tickets as well as the $300 for Sunday Ticket. It’s ridiculous.

  10. I’ve watched a couple of games on my laptop from the DirecTV “to go” service (or whatever it’s called), and the experience wasn’t good. Games on their regular satellite feed are fine, of course.

    Anyway, I’d be really leery about getting locked in to a streaming feed contract with any provider before testing it out first.

  11. Verizon is a company that does not care about it’s customers, all they care about is making as much money as they possibly can. If you have a problem with one of their products you are screwed, they will not help you. I have never in all my 60 years had to deal with such a bunch of scumbags. They can keep their crap.

  12. Apple needs to scratch a check for a few $bil out of their petty cash fund and buy into Sunday Ticket, if not buy the exclusive deal that DirecTravesty currently has, then allow it on all Apple devices including Apple TV. The average schmoe with an internet connection could buy a $99 ATV box and whammo, they’re dialed in – no additional charge (or a VERY nominal fee) for ST. That would really turn the market on its ear, be a boon for Apple, and put the entire slate of games in front of a ton more people every Sunday.

  13. I tried Sunday Ticket a few years back and just found it wasn’t worth to me what they charged. The last two seasons I have just pulled up Red Zone on my mobile while watching my regional network games and did just fine.

    I agree with those who say that the VZW service is sketchy and the incessant “Are you still there” pop up is annoying.
    If Direct would just give me an a la carte Red Zone option, my fall Sundays would almost be perfect.

  14. They really should just go the style route, and DO NOT black out local market games. Do you know why I want to watch a game on my phone or tablet? BECAUSE I’M NOT ABLE TO WATCH ON A TV. I have a 70″ LCD with 7.1 surround sound, if I can watch it on TV, I’m gonna.

    Make it $170 a year, $10 per regular season week is more than a fair price, and more than they are getting per viewer from advertisers.

  15. Sunday Ticket on the PS3 is excellent as long as your connection speed is up to snuff. Full HD and a very good user interface. I’d be tempted to go with Verizon to be able to stream the three games you can’t get on the Ticket, but they don’t offer a real unlimited plan anymore. I’ll stick to Sprint and think about paying the $20.00 to buy the NFL app.

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