Verizon is picking up where Yahoo left off, by increasing its business with the NFL. The two sides have agreed to a deal which will give the communications company the ability to stream one-regular season game during the 2017 season.
The game that Verizon will feature is the contest between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars in week three. The two teams are scheduled to face off in London on Sunday September 24th. The game will be presented on Verizon’s AOL platform, its mobile video service go90, and Complex, the young male-focused site Verizon co-owns with the Hearst Corporation.
Specifics of the deal weren’t provided but according to a source who spoke to the Wall Street Journal the price to air the game is $21 million dollars. As part of the deal, Verizon will have exclusive global rights. The only exceptions are in the Baltimore and Jacksonville markets, where the game will be available on local television.
When the NFL last worked with Yahoo (Verizon is purchasing Yahoo) in 2015 the cost was $15 million dollars to air the Jaguars-Bills game live in London. That contest generated an audience of 2.36 million viewers.
When asked about the deal, Vishal Shah, the NFL’s senior vice president of digital media business development, said Verizon’s scale and large digital platforms offer the league an opportunity to gain a better understanding of which distribution partners attract particular viewers.
“Are we reaching incremental audiences? Are we reaching the millennial demo? What we want to continue to learn is who is consuming the live games,” Mr. Shah said.
While the NFL deal is a nice addition, Verizon’s main focus remains finalizing its deal to acquire Yahoo. If that agreement can be resolved prior to the game date, the possibility exists for the Jaguars-Ravens to be broadcast on Yahoo’s sports platform. Verizon will handle sales for all of the national advertising during the game.
One additional item to pass along, Verizon’s exclusive mobile agreement with the NFL is set to expire after the 2017 season. The two sides agreed to a four year deal worth $1 billion dollars in 2013. Expect the league to be seeking a hefty increase when negotiations begin.