Last month, the NFL sold its Thursday Night Football Television rights to CBS and NBC.
This month, they intend to sell digital rights to the same games, and a decision is expected soon on which company will acquire them. Sources says the league would like to have deals wrapped up by the NFL’s annual owners meeting on March 20.
Up for grabs are the streaming rights to 18 regular-season games. The company that lands the deal is positioning itself to stand out from the crowd of online brands who are vying for viewers and advertisers’ attention.
Here’s a list of potential buyers, and one group which isn’t entering the mix.
- Facebook – Until now they’ve steered clear of paying for content, but the NFL has their attention. They are in the mix.
- Amazon – They’ve been ramping up their video offerings and are interested. Sources say the company has broader ambitions in streaming sports and is looking to hire a high-level executive to steer that effort.
- Verizon – They have mobile rights to NFL games and are looking at this package as well. The company is making a significant bet on streaming video, with moves that include the acquisition of AOL and the launch of Go90, a mobile streaming service that’s theoretically supposed to appeal to young viewers. They’re also rumored to be interested in purchasing Yahoo.
- Yahoo – They paid $20 million to stream a regular season NFL game last fall and submitted preliminary paperwork in the bidding process. With rumors swirling of a potential sale and shakeup in management, it’s unclear if they are still pursuing the games.
- Apple – They could use something dramatic to set their Apple TV box apart from the competition, but have determined that this isn’t the package to pull that off. They are not bidding.
It’s possible that another group or two could be lurking in the background and waiting to make a last minute pitch for the NFL’s digital package, but as of now, this is where things stand. The next two weeks we’ll learn a lot about where the NFL believes its product will be best showcased online.
Credit to Re/Code who originally published this article. Make sure to click the link to read the rest of their story.