NFL Partners With Verizon, Yahoo On Co-Viewing Experience
The NFL is the first launch partner for “Watch Together,” Verizon Media’s new Yahoo feature offering a co-viewing experience available on the Yahoo Sports app. Leveraging Verizon Media’s technology, the feature -- announced today -- is designed to innovate live events by providing fans the ability to co-watch, interact and immerse themselves in entertainment events ranging from sports to music. Watch Together for NFL Live on Yahoo Sports will give fans the ability to watch live local and primetime NFL games with up to three other family members and friends on their phones at launch through a synchronized livestream, creating an interactive virtual experience that lets viewers feel like they are watching the game together at the exact same time. Yahoo Sports GM Geoff Reiss said a key part of the project’s purpose is to ensure fans still have an “opportunity to have watching football games be a communal experience, a shared experience.” He explained, “I’d argue that the best and most impactful new consumer products in the digital world have traditionally enabled consumers to do things that they’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t. It’s not about trying to create new forms of demand."
LATEST KIND OF NEW GEN EXPERIENCES: Reiss stressed this “represents kind of the beginning of a new chapter of immersive and next gen experiences that we expect to build on and iterate fairly rapidly over the next six, seven months.” He agreed that expanding into other sports as well as increasing the amount of people allowed in the Watch Together room are on the table. Reiss: “This is very much the beginning of the beginning.” Watch Together will launch tomorrow with the Texans-Chiefs game on NBC. Reiss indicated the “strategic imperative to do this predates the pandemic” but added the onset of the virus “certainly made this feel like a more compelling priority because we recognize that consumption patterns around sports are likely to shift significantly, at least in the short term.”
AUGMENTED REALITY COMPONENT: In addition to Watch Together, Yahoo Sports will enhance its game center experience with an augmented reality experience, “Yahoo Sports PlayAR,” that will provide fans with the ability to see graphical replays of key plays across all games in near real time by layering the NFL’s Next Gen Stats proprietary tracking data onscreen with enhanced games stats for players who are part of the play. Fans can begin to utilize Yahoo Sports PlayAR for Sunday’s live NFL matchups on Yahoo Sports. Reiss called PlayAR an “opportunity to evoke, lift up the curtain and really understand how sports works.” He said it “goes into attacking the notion of ‘How did that play happen?’ and ‘What does the bones of that experience look like?’”