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The NFL gets into the game (of streaming)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Like the MLB, NBA, and NHL, the nation’s most popular sports league — the NFL — is getting into the game. The streaming game, that is.

The NFL launched its own dedicated streaming service, NFL+, this month.

NFL+ marks the first time the league has operated its own streaming service, and it could prove popular with football fans, according to Nelson Spade, general manager of Circulus Digital Media, WISH-TV’s full-service digital agency and sister company.

“NFL+ launched on August 4. They launched into the market with two packages, a $5 per month ad-supported model and a $10 per month ad-free experience for users,” Spade said. “They’re launching in kind of a very complicated and busy environment. (There are) a lot of options, existing streaming packages, and a lot of add on options for users as well.”

Spade says the new streaming service is a way for the NFL to build on a good year that saw viewership increase 10%.

“They’re planting a flag to this growing trend of digital live sports viewership. It’s gonna be up 23% this year. It’s like, 75 million homes already viewing via a streaming service. It’s gonna double in three seasons. So it’s really a chance for the NFL to start capitalizing on their own product in a different way.”

NFL+ subscribers will get access to all out-of-market pre-season games and the NFL library of documentaries and specials.

Things get a little more complicated when the regular season rolls around, according to Spade.

“When you get in the regular season games, you have access to all regular season and postseason games, but only in your market — but of course, it’s only viewable on mobile devices,” Spade said. “To top it off, NFL+ isn’t offering any exclusive games that are only available via NFL+. To that point, users and subscribers will still have to go to Amazon for Thursday night games.”

Subscribers will also need to tune in to whichever network is chosen to carry Sunday Ticket. A decision on the new home of Sunday Ticket is expected in the fall.

Spade says NFL+ viewership is likely to be fractured based on existing streaming deals. But, he says, it’s the first step to a longer-term commitment from the league to make content accessible to fans in multiple ways while also increasing their control in the streaming space.

“This really is a first chess play for the NFL to continue to maintain some of its rights and ownership of their own product in a different space. One of the biggest reasons the NFL has led dominance and ratings for many, many years is it attracted itself to broadcasters early on, so it’s available to the masses as compared to the NBA, which has largely been a cable product.”

To watch the entire segment, click on the video.

For more information, contact Circulus Digital Media directly by email or visit the website.

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