Showing no sign that it wants to reduce the amount of saturation of its product in the broader video ecosystem, the National Football League will reportedly collect $21 million from Verizon so that the telecom operator can livestream a Sept. 24 game to be played in London featuring the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.
As league officials and their TV/video distribution partners scratched their heads following last season’s roller coaster, during which a strong audience performance in the NFL postseason compensated somewhat for abysmal viewership during the regular season, it was thought that the league’s London gambit wouldn’t continue in 2017.
In 2015, Yahoo paid $17 million to stream a game from London’s Wembley Stadium featuring the moribund Jaguars versus the also-sucky Buffalo Bills. The game drew an audience of 15.2 million viewers. But when Yahoo bowed out, it was assumed the NFL might begin to trim its highly saturated video acumen starting with this one-off.
Not gonna happen.
Verizon will stream the game live across its collection of video platforms including AOL, Fios TV, Go90 and Complex.com.
The Verizon deal comes after the NFL also demurred on a chance to reduce its saturation levels for Thursday Night Football, which saw double-digit ratings drops in prime time over the fall.
Licensing for Thursday night NFL games is already split between CBS, NBC, the NFL Network and Verizon, which has exclusive mobile rights. Last season, the NFL also licensed digital game rights to Twitter, and that window isn’t going away, either. Amazon will pay the league $50 million to stream the games broadcast nationally by NBC and CBS.