Verizon Will Reportedly Pay More Than $2 Billion for Its New 5-Year NFL Streaming Deal

All smartphone users will get more games, including the Super Bowl

For the first time, Verizon will stream NFL games to smartphone users outside of its own network.

There has been plenty of handwringing about the NFL’s future this year after a dip in ratings and advertiser concern over protest coverage on TV, but Verizon is making a $2 billion bet on the sport’s prosperous future.

Verizon, which has been exclusively streaming NFL games on smartphones since 2010, just signed a lucrative new deal with the league that expands the number of games it can offer—including the Super Bowl—and for the first time will allow non-Verizon users to stream the games as well.

Verizon will reportedly pay more than $2 billion over five years, according to the Wall Street Journal, to stream NFL games on its Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90 platforms, along with the NFL mobile app.

Beginning in January, the new pact includes Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, all playoff games—including the Super Bowl—and Sunday afternoon in-market games. Beyond the games, consumers will have mobile access to NFL highlights and what the NFL and Verizon are calling “a robust set of jointly-developed original content.”

Verizon will continue to be an NFL official sponsor, reportedly increasing its current annual rights and sponsorship from $250 million to more than $450 million.

What’s most striking about the deal is that Verizon will no longer have exclusive mobile rights, which the company has had since 2010. Instead, Verizon will use that NFL content to enhance the digital and mobile platforms it has acquired in recent years, including Yahoo Sports. However, the streams will only be available on the mobile versions of Verizon’s platforms.

“We’re making a commitment to fans for Verizon’s family of media properties to become the mobile destination for live sports,” said Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam 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. We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.”

Added NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who last week signed an extension through the 2023 season, “Our expanded partnership with Verizon is great for our fans. Starting with the upcoming playoffs and for seasons to come, live NFL action directly on your mobile device—regardless of carrier—will give millions of fans additional ways to follow their favorite sport.”

With the smartphone rights squared away for the next five years, Goodell can focus on the Thursday Night Football package, which is up after this year. However, sources expect that CBS and NBC will continue to divvy up those games, as has been the case over the past two years.

Beyond that, all of the major NFL TV rights deals are up after the 2021. Given that NFL games, pregames and postgames continue to be among the highest-rated programs each week, expect the competition for those deals to be fiercer than ever, especially if services like Amazon and Facebook enter the fray.

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