The NFL has followed the path of the NBA into China, forging a deal with local online video company Tencent Holdings Ltd. to stream games in the country.
No terms were announced for the three-year deal, which will make Tencent the exclusive distributor of NFL video in China.
Starting this fall, Tencent will livestream and offer on-demand access to select NFL preseason and regular season Sunday afternoon games, and all primetime Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games. Tencent will also have access to the NFL playoff games, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, the training camp series “Hard Knocks” and—for what it’s worth—the Pro Bowl.
The National Football League’s agreement follows an earlier $500 million content licensing deal forged between Tencent and the National Basketball Association.
And earlier this month, World Wrestling Entertainment announced a distribution deal with Chinese video company PPTV to distribute content locally.
“We are very excited about the NFL’s future in China and proud of our partnership with Tencent,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “We are confident that this agreement will provide our growing number of Chinese fans with a better viewing experience and more opportunities for engagement with the NFL than ever before.”
"This extraordinary partnership will bring localized NFL games and content to Tencent's hundreds of millions of daily users across China," added NFL China Managing Director Richard Young. "The NFL's popularity in China is soaring and our fan base will receive unprecedented NFL coverage and content throughout the year."