SBD/August 6, 2013/Media

NFL Consolidates Its Mobile Apps Under A Single Redesigned, Rebranded Entity

NFL Mobile comes in Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile versions
The NFL is "consolidating some of its disparate batch of mobile applications, and is focusing its efforts on a newly redesigned and rebranded flagship product, NFL Mobile," according to Eric Fisher of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The new NFL Mobile app "replaces both an app that carried the same name but was available only to Verizon subscribers as part of the carrier’s broad partnership with the league, and a separate but similar product called NFL ’13 that was not carrier-specific." The league still will "operate and support its stand-alone NFL Fantasy app, but many of those fantasy features are also now present in the NFL Mobile app." The reorganization seeks to "end a period of market confusion when fans did not necessarily know which apps they should have to get the most content on the league." The new NFL Mobile comes in Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile versions that are "available now or should be in the coming days." Verizon will have "prominent branding on the smartphone version of the app in the U.S., and Verizon subscribers have exclusive access to several key pieces of content, such as live streaming of Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games, NFL RedZone, and a continual live stream of the NFL Network" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/5 issue). ALLTHINGSD.com's Peter Kafka noted the NFL by consolidating the two apps is "taking more control over its digital experience." That move is happening as COO Brian Rolapp "ascends to the CEO title." Kafka: "So keep an eye on the league for more interesting digital developments down the line" (ALLTHINGSD.com, 8/5).

DIFFERENT VISIONS: AD AGE's Mike Skogmo wrote of the NFL and NBA, "One has embraced online video, and the other has dropped the ball entirely." The "industry-leading online video presence belongs" to the NBA, while the NFL has "trailed inexplicably." The NBA with more than four million subscribers "boasts one of the most popular YouTube channels in the world." By contrast, the NFL has "no YouTube presence, though if it did, success would be virtually guaranteed." The video content "on its own website notwithstanding, take one look at NFL.com and it's clear that video is not the focus." Skogmo: "Why has the NFL resisted? Without any word from the league, we're left to speculate. Does it see YouTube as a threat to its lucrative TV distribution?" Perhaps it is "worried that an endless supply of bone-crunching football clips available 24/7 for viewing and replay will feed into the growing movement that accuses the game of being too dangerous." Although it is "a slim possibility, considering the league's immaculate track record, the NFL's business brass simply may have made a poor judgment." For an organization that is "highly esteemed and generally lauded for being on-point in every aspect of its business and marketing operations, ignoring YouTube seems decidedly off point" (ADAGE.com, 8/2).
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