As the NFL continues to look for additional revenues from streaming, it may be looking at selling packages to new partners that would take effect as early as the 2017 season. Yahoo and Twitter were the first online companies to partner with the NFL. Amazon will be the league’s third digital partner as it will stream 10 Thursday Night Football games starting in September.
But the TNF package may not the only digital package for the NFL in 2017. While digital audiences don’t match the mass appeal of television, the NFL still wants to test the waters of its popularity online.
Recode reports that the league is looking to sell one game in London to a digital partner. And there’s the potential that seven Thursday and Saturday night games that will air exclusively on NFL Network could be sold to a digital partner.
Another potential online package could be the five international games (four in London and one in Mexico City). So with a potential of two or maybe three digital packages, the NFL could find additional revenue streams that could supplement its television partners.
And Recode raises the potential of seeing a joint bid with the television networks and the techies:
Another possible scenario is a joint bid — imagine Google or Facebook teaming up with an NBC or CBS to bid on rights together. In such a scenario, the broadcaster such as CBS might produce the show and air the games on TV, while Facebook or Google would stream the games online.
That possbility was raised last week at the NAB Show in Las Vegas where executives of Turner Sports, the NBA and NHL all discussed joint TV-tech bids for sports rights.
Whatever happens, the move by the NFL to move to having games streamed online by new media has come rather quickly. After a single-game experiment with Yahoo in 2015, the number of games expanded to ten with Twitter in 2016 and there could be even more in 2017.
While the online audience won’t match the millions watching on television, the NFL wants to be on the forefront of bringing games to digital and expand its international base. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming months.