NFL expands London game-streaming strategy, further moves beyond pay-TV ecosystem

After deeming its live-steam of a London-based regular season game on Yahoo in October a success, the NFL said it will stream three more games next season from Wembley Stadium.

According to Reuters, the league is in talks with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) to live stream three games from Wembley: Oct. 2 featuring the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars; Oct. 23 featuring the St Louis Rams and New York Giants; and an Oct. 30 game pitting two playoff teams from this season against each other, the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

It is unclear as to whether the NFL is selling each of these games individually or packaging them. 

Over this past fall, Yahoo paid the NFL around $20 million to live stream, in the early-morning U.S. hours, a game featuring the Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. Neither of these mid-market teams came close to making the playoffs. But the fact that Yahoo could draw an audience of around 15.2 million viewers, and sell out its ad inventory, for such a crummy game showed the potential to the NFL of what it could do by breaking off marginal contests from its existing pay-TV packages.

In other words, the league could get away with taking Bills vs. Jaguars out of the rotation for its Sunday Ticket games package, for which AT&T/DirecTV (NYSE: T) pay around $1.4 billion a year to license. 

Of course, one Bills game is one thing, but taking the Redskins and Bengals out of the pay-TV ecosystem is another. It's unclear as to what the reaction will be not only by AT&T, but other denizens of the pay-TV ecosystem -- Disney/ABC, Fox and CBS Corp. included -- who pay handsomely for NFL rights. 

For more:
- read this Reuters story

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