The days of free streaming of your local NFL team’s games on your mobile phone are over.
The NFL is introducing a new subscription-based streaming service that will offer consumers local and national prime-time TV coverage of games previously streamed free to consumers on Yahoo Sports and the NFL mobile app.
The service, called NFL+, launches today for a monthly fee of $4.99/month or $39.99/year. Users can access the service on a mobile phone or tablet, but not on an Internet-connected TV.
The new service effectively brings the NFL into the consumer-facing video streaming market, which could eventually become the primary means of presenting games as the television landscape evolves.
Media rights for the NFL committed for 11 years Starting next season, the bulk of the games will air on the traditional broadcast and cable networks CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and ESPN. However, with young consumers moving to streaming platforms, the league clearly wants to keep the possibilities open for the future.
NFL+ subscribers will receive all pre-season games, regional TV coverage offered in their markets on CBS and Fox, and prime-time games shown on NBC, ESPN and Amazon Prime Video. Playoffs and the Super Bowl will also be included.
NFL+ will also offer live audio across all games, including outside the local fan market.
The premium version of NFL+ will be offered for $9.99/month or $79.99/year, adding features such as ad-free replays and coach movies. The new service replaces the NFL’s Game Pass, which offered a library of previous games, live game audio, and other league-related programs for $99 a year.
Fans can still stream games live on platforms offered by NFL broadcast partners, all of which require a subscription to either the streaming platform itself or a pay-TV service.
While some consumers may be annoyed at having to pay for live games after they’ve been free for over a decade, league executives believe the extra content offered on NFL+ will make it appealing to die-hard fans.
“Now is the time for us to combine all of this into a product that is more meaningful at a price point that we believe is attractive,” said David Yurenka, senior vice president of NFL Media and general manager of the NFL’s Los Angeles office.
Verizon was the first company to offer NFL games on mobile devices starting in 2010. The company waived its exclusive rights in 2017 and featured NFL content on its digital assets, including Yahoo. Verizon decided last year to end its streaming partnership as part of its strategy to exit the video content business by spinning off Yahoo and AOL.
NFL+ does not offer non-prime time off-market games to fans. These games are available on the NFL Sunday Ticket currently available through DirecTV, giving fans the opportunity to watch every regional TV show.
DirecTV’s Sunday ticket deal ends at the end of the 2022-2023 season. The rights are currently being bought by the NFL, with tech giants Amazon and Apple reportedly taking the lead. leading contenders. Amazon has exclusive rights to Thursday night NFL football starting this season.