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Volume 24 No. 176
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Oath CEO Tim Armstrong Defends Verizon's Reported $2B Deal For Streaming NFL Games

Oath CEO Tim Armstrong "defended the massive deal struck last month" by Verizon with the NFL that allows the company to live-stream games to any mobile device nationwide, according to Andrew Wallenstein of VARIETY. The five-year deal is worth a reported $2B, and Armstrong yesterday at CES '18 said, "I would argue a five-year deal for NFL is money really well spent to drive Verizon and its core strategy." He cited the experiences both Verizon and Yahoo have had "broadcasting select NFL games from London in recent years as providing the data that gives his company confidence that there’s a growing appetite for a global audience." Armstrong put the NFL deal in the context of a "larger strategy Verizon is embarking on" in '18 to "build up its content assets not just in sports," but in other areas such as news, finance and entertainment (VARIETY.com, 1/10). Armstrong said the NFL deal is a "direct plug in to what the overall Verizon Oath strategy is, which is to bring the world's best content and services to the mobile consumer." He said, "This is probably one of the first big building blocks for us over time." NFL ratings have declined in recent years, but Armstrong said that does not necessarily mean there is less interest in the league: "I'd argue ... interest has been shifting from TV to mobile" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 1/9).

WIDENING THE STREAM: The AP's Josh Dubow notes Amazon built on the audience Twitter had in '16 in the first year of streaming "TNF" games, with the "averaging per minute audience for the 11 games hitting 310,000," a 17% increase from Twitter’s numbers. On a per capita basis, the "biggest audience" was in DC, followed by Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Prime members in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and N.C. "watched for the longest amount of time" (AP, 1/11).