NBC to Begin Streaming Sunday Night Football to Mobile Devices

NBCUniversal rang in 2018 by acquiring the rights to stream Sunday Night Football from the National Football League.

This year, the broadcaster will be able to stream their content to mobile devices for the first time through their TV Everywhere product-- a technological advancement care of Verizon’s latest non-exclusive deal with the NFL. The ad-supported stream will come through both the Verizon network and the NFL’s own mobile platforms.

The ability to stream to mobile is a major milestone for NBC Sports. Since 2008, NBCU has been streaming Sunday Night Football on a number of platforms; now, however, they can broadcast to fans anywhere, anytime. This new accessibility is not the only advantage to the deal. The arrangement will also allow the NFL and NBCU to track their customers’ viewing habits, providing insight into both advertising efficacy and possible improvements to the sports viewing experience. 

 

According to PwC’s 2017 Sports Outlook, the North American sports media market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 3% through 2021 across segments of media rights, gate revenues, sponsorships and merchandise. Media rights is expected to grow the fastest. Developments like NBC’s new streaming arrangement are no surprise given this climate-- broadcasters are becoming increasingly focused on acquiring sports media rights, hoping to win back viewers who have chosen to consume their media away from traditional broadcast tv. Pro football’s ratings are still among the highest, but the NFL has been actively testing streaming options for several years. They partnered for a one-off streaming event with Yahoo in 2015, and 2016 gave Twitter the authority to stream Thursday Night Football. Last year, Amazon won the rights to the Thursday Night Football games with a bid of $50 million (plus $30 million in advertising and promotion for the NFL.)

As broadcasters, digital platforms, and streaming services vie for a leading role in a sector that offers the opportunity for millions of dollars in advertising, the shift toward mobile streaming will be instrumental in reaching those who have “cut the cord” from broadcast television.

This trend is unlikely to go away anytime soon, and mobile football fans can start looking forward to a permanent ability to watch the game wherever they happen to be.

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TRENDSNick Symes