Sports fans now have more reason to check out CBS All Access. CBS’ subscription streaming service has previously provided access to the network’s comedies and dramas, plus some local programming and some exclusive content like the forthcoming new Star Trek series, but it hasn’t been able to show the NFL games that air on CBS each Sunday. As Meg James writes in The Los Angeles Times, that’s now going to change:
Until now, CBS had been forbidden from showing the NFL games that were broadcast by CBS television stations on the company’s $5.99-a-month All Access platform.
CBS and the league announced the multi-year deal on Thursday, but declined to say how much more money CBS agreed to pay for the streaming rights to the games.
Already, CBS pays roughly $1.4 billion a year in TV licensing fees to the NFL, and the blackout of NFL football games on CBS’ digital platform was something of a sore point.
CBS, which has rights to Sunday action of the American Football Conference, had been angling for more than two years to gain the coveted NFL streaming rights for its next-generation service.
“We are very pleased that our partnership with the NFL has been expanded to include CBS All Access,” CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said in a statement. “Adding the most watched programming on television, to the most watched network on television, will be a powerful combination as we continue to grow CBS All Access into the future.”
The deal will include both regular season and postseason games that air on CBS, and it should be a significant boon for their All Access service. This is also interesting timing considering that CBS is the biggest holdout in the DirecTV Now streaming service; the NFL rights bolster their own streaming service, and perhaps make their service more appealing as a separate buy for DirecTV Now customers. This doesn’t change anything for existing pay-TV customers, who could already stream games online through CBS’ apps, and it doesn’t apply to phones outside the home (Verizon has those rights locked up), but it does mean that CBS All Access subscribers will now be able to watch the network’s NFL games through tablets, connected TV devices, computers and more. That’s a big deal for the service, and one that may help boost its adoption significantly.