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The Revolution Will Be Babysteps: NFL/Yahoo Ink Deal For Exclusive Web-Stream Of Bad Football Game

from the and-so-it-begins dept

We've been going on about how we're on the cusp of significant change in the way major sports leagues handle digital streaming for quite a while. While I've long made the argument that one of the few strands by which the pay-for-television landscape is grasping onto yesterday is the broadcast rights of professional and college sports, recent announcements from both Major League Baseball and the NFL, when combined with the NBA's new broadcasting deals, seemed like the starting line in the race to cord-cutting. That said, the race is going to be a marathon and not a sprint, peppered with the kinds of babysteps in the most recent announcement concerning the NFL.

That announcement is significant, though, as it represents the first time the league (any major professional sports league?) has inked a deal to stream, and only stream (outside the game's markets), a game over the internet.

The NFL said in a statement Wednesday that Yahoo is its "exclusive partner to deliver the first-ever live stream of an NFL game to a global audience across devices and for free." The October 25 Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game will be groundbreaking because it won't be shown on television in the United States like every other NFL game is. (It will still air in the Bills' and Jaguars' home markets.). It will be available for streaming, with ads attached, all around the world.
Now, before all the football fans in the audience get up in arms over the quality of this particular match, don't bother. If you're a proponent of expanded sports streaming, this is 100% a win, even if watching a Bills vs. Jags game is less enjoyable than pulling metal splinters out of the eyeball of a cute puppy. The NFL is a monster, the best possible partner proponents like me could have hoped for, and even the worst NFL game typically does no worse than decent in terms of ratings. Imagine what it will tell the NFL if the Yahoo stream of this game beats past viewership numbers of its televised counterparts? They're setting the bar low and it will look significant if there's even a modicum of success.

Estimates for the sum Yahoo paid for the right to this broadcast have it anywhere between ten and twenty million dollars, making larger deals with Yahoo, or other players (hi, YouTube!) feasible as broadcast rights replacements to CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN. Yahoo isn't bullshitting in playing this up.
Yahoo is promoting the event this way: "For the first time in NFL history, anyone with an internet connection can tune in, exclusively on Yahoo, from anywhere to watch a live football game for free. Whether you're on your phone, tablet, laptop, console or connected device -- we've got you covered."
Again, it's a step and not a leap, but as steps go it is closer to the moon landing than dipping a toe in the water.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 10:08pm

    While exclusivity is bad and the copy protection laws that enable them are also bad this might give the pro-IP networks a taste of their own medicine. They may even come to hate the very copy protection laws they once advocated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 10:34pm

    I don't know if it counts as major for you but it certainly does in Melbourne. The AFL has a season streaming option https://id.afl.com.au/livepass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brandfors, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:48pm

    NFL

    If everything works worldwide in digital streaming then it's great! We have lots of streaming problems here in Finland..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:49pm

    I long ago gave up on sports on tv. I no longer care about football, baseball, nor basketball. I got fed up years ago with the blackouts on football they no longer do. Today I couldn't tell you the names of who plays or who they play for and don't care.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 4:24am

    It's a game from London..

    So they are probably trying to cut the costs of televising an international (ie unimportant to the US..) game that invoves two has-been teams..

    Still - a step forward. The interesting point will come when they offer this on prime-time US games between teams that people actually care about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    slander (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 4:39am

    Er...

    For the first time in NFL history, anyone with an internet connection can tune in, exclusively on Yahoo, from anywhere to watch a live football game for free.


    Wait, so for the past couple of years that I've watched NBC Sunday Night Football, launched from the Yahoo portal, streaming live from NBC, I really haven't been? Wow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 4:49am

    Cord cutting

    You can already watch most major league games (I don't know about the NBA, I don't follow).

    NFL has NFL rewind which get all Sunday games by Monday morning and the Monday night game by Tuesday at 8pm. I think the Thursday game is up 90 min after the completion.

    MLB has MLB.tv which can watch any out of market game, and anything shown in your Market 90 Min after completion, with the exception of Saturday afternoon, which is available after 8pm that day.

    NHL has NHL GameCenter "LIVE" (quoates added) which you can watch all out of market games live and then with the most draconian rules out there the rest of the games 48 hours after the final horn (including all playoffs games).

    Both the NFL and NHL (after the 48 hour "blackout") remove commercial (non-in game) and MLB to be annoying put a "This game is in commercial break" card up for all commercials.

    Also NBC has been streaming Sunday Night Football for at least 2 seasons now (http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/12/30/nbcs-sunday-night-football-concludes-regular-season-as- primetime-televisions-1-show/344772/) [Record 3.3 Million Unique Users Live Streamed SNF Via NBC Sports .... watching the SNF live stream to desktops and tablets]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 10:13am

      Re: Cord cutting

      I can live with the streams from ATDHE for my sport watching habit, which is really just the NFL Red Zone on Sunday to watch my fantasy players suck it up.

      Most games can be found there though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    meh, 5 Jun 2015 @ 7:20am

    a bad game doesn't benefit anyone

    I remember an experiment not too long ago which the bigheads concluded a failure. Buffalo games played in Toronto. Little did they account the games selected were the worst matchups of the worst. No one wants to pay money on that. The population isn't that dumb to know ita just a temporary GIF and why get behind them when they could just catch an actual good game on tv.

    So yes ita great to be officially streamed online but the results aren't going to be any blockbuster.

    As for the Toronto experiment. Bring a team with a permanent situation and they will tap into a grand market. Not just Toronto but they will become the Canada team and the following will be coast to coast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 10:05am

    If you're a proponent of expanded sports streaming, this is 100% a win


    On the other hand, if you're technically out of market, now you have to watch the game on your phone or computer instead of your big-screen TV. I'm sure you can hook up your TV to your computer, but there's no way many of us could get a download speed fast enough to show the game in HD even if we felt like learning how to do that.

    I suppose if you're a fan of *streaming* this is good. If you're a fan of the *game*, not so much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2015 @ 12:12am

      Re:

      What do you mean by "out of market"? If you mean you're outside of the usual places where the game is broadcast, which other method do you expect to use to see it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 2:29pm

    I don't want to shut techdirt up, but how much to just stop having tim write articles?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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