In 2016, the biggest companies in the world of technology became fiercely competitive in picking up streaming rights to games from the National Football League. Both Google and Apple engaged in discussions with the league at the start of the year regarding streaming rights for just the international games, but many other companies joined in when the NFL started shopping streaming rights for the entire Thursday Night Football package. The group of companies interested in streaming Thursday Night Football for at least the next year or two includes Google, Apple, Amazon, and Verizon. Bloomberg reports that AT&T, Facebook, and Yahoo were also interested in placing a bid at some point but might have moved on, likely due to the NFL’s high price tag.
Verizon is considered a frontrunner because of its existing deal with the NFL, one that allows the carrier stream each and every game exclusively to customers using a phone on its network. The existing deal, which is valued at $1 billion, expires after next year’s Super Bowl and so Verizon will need to work to negotiate a renewal while deepening the strength of the partnership with more content. Big Red wants to go beyond streaming Sunday, Monday, and Thursday games to phones.
Sources tell the New York Post that Verizon is hesitant on renewing its sponsorship and streaming rights deal with the NFL because of the league’s asking price; therefore, Verizon is trying to get more content to make the amount of money spent worth every penny. Where would “more content” come from? That Thursday Night Football package, of course.
If Verizon does score Thursday Night Football games, it’s widely believed the content would be funneled into Go90. The millennial-targeted video streaming service is the current home to a catalog that includes the NBA and other younger-skewing programming. The NFL attracts millions of eyeballs on a weekly basis, and Verizon would be smart to put Thursday Night Football on Go90 to make advertisers dump money into it (and eventually generate a profit). It would also become likely that Go90 becomes available on media players in order to serve people not wanting to stream football games on their phones.
Even if Verizon doesn’t want to pay big bucks for everything the NFL has to offer, the carrier will likely write a check anyways. Other companies would jump on what Verizon has with the NFL in the blink of an eye. For example, Amazon is reportedly interested in the NFL Sunday Ticket deal controlled by DirecTV through the next six seasons. See? It’s never too early to think about signing a deal with the NFL. The league is a cash cow showing no signs of slowing down.