With the NFL entering the final year of its original four-year agreement with Verizon, it looks like there could be at least one heavy hitter in contention for live mobile rights in the near-future. Yahoo! is considering making a run at the rights, according to Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider.
That Verizon deal was reportedly worth $720 million, and Carlson reports that Yahoo's price tag will be somewhere in the range of $200 million per year, which seems reasonable.
The question is whether or not those rights would be exclusive. You'd assume Yahoo! would only pay up if such a deal gave it a chance to convert current subscribers from Verizon, which has owned exclusive live mobile game rights since 2010.
Considering that Yahoo! Sports has become a fantasy football Mecca, this would be a natural acquisition for the $17 billion corporation. Yahoo! CEO and Silicon Valley superhero Marissa Mayer has made no secret about the fact she wants to shift the company's focus from web to mobile in dramatic fashion, and this would represent a strong step in that direction.
Still, Carlson ultimately predicts that Mayer stays away. Is it worth paying a billion dollars over a half a decade for the right to bring people live broadcasts and highlights of America's most popular sport when that footage will be restricted, typically, to screens that fit in the palm of your hand? That's the debate.
But knowing the NFL's power, whether it's Yahoo! or Verizon or somebody else, someone will pay up.