Yahoo's NFL streaming audience has been steadily growing

NFL
The increase in free streaming options for NFL games comes after ratings declined during both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. (Josh Hallett/Flickr)

Ever since Verizon-owned Yahoo Sports last year signed an expanded streaming deal with the NFL, the site has seen its viewership steadily increase.

Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, Yahoo saw its app usage increase 3% to 5% per week, according to Sport Techie.

It’s likely a variety of online outlets have seen similar spikes in streaming audiences for NFL games. For this season, the NFL set expanded streaming deals with its broadcast partners CBS, ESPN, NBC and Fox to allow viewers to watch for free on mobile devices.

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That round of streaming deals was set in motion late last year when Verizon relented on its exclusive mobile streaming deal with the NFL.

CBS’s new deal runs through 2022 and livestreams the entire 2018 NFL on CBS schedule, including Super Bowl LIII, on all CBS All Access platforms, including on mobile phones and tablets via the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, and online at CBS.com.

NBCUniversal has signed a new deal with the NFL which will allow it to stream Sunday Night Football games to mobile devices through its NBC TV Everywhere app beginning with the 2018 season.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football was already available to stream across devices including tablets, computers, streaming devices and connected TVs, but last year mobile phones were added to the mix.

Amazon also renewed its streaming deal with the NFL for another two years. The company is livestreaming 11 Thursday night games, which will be broadcast by Fox and simulcast on the NFL Network and Fox Deportes. The games will also be made available on Twitch, which is owned by Amazon.

All the free streaming of NFL games is being offered in hopes of stemming the tide of declining traditional TV viewership. During both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the NFL saw its overall ratings decline, though it remained the most watched program on television.

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