Verizon’s contract which paid the NFL $250 million annually is expiring after four years. According to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, the two sides have reached an agreement on a five year deal worth $2.5 billion in total, $500 million per year.
The new contract is great news for the NFL. The league, which has been under much scrutiny for two seasons regarding a significant decline in TV ratings, has people questioning whether or not the NFL’s popularity plateaued. Verizon’s willingness to pay the National Football League double that of their previous contract counters the declining popularity thought.
“The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it,” said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in a statement. “We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.”
Under the previous contract, Verizon held exclusive rights to mobile streaming of in-market NFL games, meaning unless Verizon is your mobile carrier, you cannot stream most NFL games on your phone. ESPN for example, was unable to offer streaming of ‘Monday Night Football’ via their app because of Verizon’s exclusivity.
According to SBJ, Verizon no longer has exclusive mobile streaming rights. Cable, stallite, along with streaming providers such as Sling TV and DirecTV will now be able to provide their customers with streaming options of NFL games through mobile device apps.
SBJ states the contract increase is in large part due to an increase in media-rights fees. The deal also shows the importance of digital media companies and foreshadows the potential for others such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google to surface as competitors with traditional TV networks for media rights.
In their new contract, Verizon acquired the rights to sell in-game advertisements on its own platforms. An NFL sponsor since 2010, Verizon will continue as an official sponsor of the league.