ESPN is the latest to add mobile streaming rights to its NFL deal after Verizon’s new NFL deal gave up exclusive rights to stream NFL games on mobile phones.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football was already available to stream across devices including tablets, computers, streaming devices and connected TVs, but now mobile phones will be added. ESPN’s branded NFL shows including Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and NFL Live were already available to streaming on mobile devices.
ESPN’s mobile rights deal begins with the NFL’s Wild Card weekend coming in January.
ESPN’s deal follows a similar update to NBC’s NFL deal that allows the broadcaster to offer mobile streaming for Sunday Night Football starting with the 2018 season.
"We have been streaming Sunday Night Football on numerous platforms since 2008, but as a result of this agreement, 2018 will be the first time we can stream prime-time television’s No. 1 show on all digital platforms, creating a more seamless viewing experience for NFL fans,” said Rick Cordella, executive vice president and general manager of digital media for NBC Sports Group, in a statement. “In addition to fans, this mobile agreement benefits our distribution partners, local affiliates, and advertisers, as it significantly extends SNF’s digital reach.”
Jefferies analyst John Janedis said that the cost for the additional mobile phone streaming rights is likely incremental for both ESPN and NBC—likely in the $10 million range. He also said that other NFL broadcast and streaming partners could follow suit.
“While CBS has streaming rights, it is unclear if there will be a deal for mobile rights this season. We do expect AMZN to buy expanded Thursday NFL rights when that deal renews in a few weeks,” wrote Janedis in a research note.