The National Football League (NFL) sends teams overseas annually to play games in London as a way to generate international interest in the sport and give false hope to locals that an organization would actually be located outside of the United States. During the current 2015 season, only one of the games was streamed online for everyone in the world to see. Now, after seeing modest results, the league wants to push heavier into streaming those London games. The NFL is shopping around all three games rather than just one, and two of the top interested parties are the tech industry’s fiercest rivals.
Google and Apple are fighting to secure rights to stream three NFL games.
Reuters, through multiple sources close to the situation, is reporting that both Google and Apple are negotiating deals to stream the three NFL games to be played in London next season.
These are the games up for grabs:
- October 2: Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
- October 23: New York Giants @ St. Louis Rams
- October 30: Washington Redskins @ Cincinnati Bengals
We can all agree that these games are likely to give the NFL a better product on an international stage. Having multiple NFL games would put millions of eyeballs on either company’s products and generate a nice chunk of ad revenue.
The way in which Google and Apple would respectively go about streaming the games is pretty obvious. Google owns YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing site, and Apple would host it on iOS devices and Apple TV. From a hardware and software standpoint, though, it does seem that the NFL would be better off choosing Google to stream games. YouTube is very reliable and Google has a bevy of hardware partners giving people access to the service.
This season, Yahoo spent in the ballpark of $20 million for rights to broadcast a game in London that featured the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. The stream was plagued with buffering and stuttering issues, leading to an even bigger problem than having two underwhelming teams play in a historic game. And Yahoo didn’t even have to bring an on-site production team because CBS was there to handle that, providing announcers and graphics. Yahoo just didn’t seem to be ready for what the NFL would bring.
The postgame statistics weren’t all that kind for Yahoo. Over 15 million people around the world watched at least part of the game streamed worldwide; however, it automatically started playing on select sites and, thus, that number is somewhat useless. Remember this: the average NFL game can get that amount of viewers in the United States alone. And average amount of viewers watching the game at any given time was just 2.36 million. I’d say Marissa Mayer & were also upset Yahoo couldn’t sell all of its ad inventory at the original price. Yahoo spent a lot of money to get an iffy return.
After seeing Yahoo struggle, the NFL probably wants a more formidable to handle streaming its games. That’s why the league is intrigued by Google and Apple’s interest in picking up the games. Google and Apple are also among other bidders seeking to get exclusive streaming rights for the entire slate of Thursday Night Football games being shopped around by the NFL. An announcement on both the London games’ rights and Thursday Night Football should come later this month. The NFL likes to get announcements like this out as the Super Bowl nears in early February to really dominate headlines while there are fewer games being played every weekend.
Representatives on behalf of the NFL, Google, and Apple all declined to comment on the report.