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Volume 27 No. 8
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NFL, Verizon Extend Media Rights/Sponsorship Deal Another Five Years

The NFL and Verizon have signed a five-year deal that will see wireless communications outfit stream in-market and national NFL games via digital and mobile platforms starting next month. Sources said that the media rights and sponsorship deal is worth an average of close to $500M per year, an increase that nearly doubles the $250M per year Verizon is paying as part of its current four-year deal. The biggest part of that increase comes from an increase in media-rights fees, rather than sponsorship revenue, a source said. The NFL has been courting digital media companies for years in the hopes that they will emerge as competitors to traditional TV networks for media rights. The size of Verizon’s increase could be a sign that digital media companies will be ready to make serious bids when the NFL’s media rights are up in ’21 and ’22.

The NFL has been clear with its desire to expand the availability of live games on digital devices, and this deal furthers that initiative. Unlike the old deal, the new deal does not give Verizon mobile exclusivity -- fans will have access to the streams regardless of mobile network. This year’s playoffs, for example, will be available via the Verizon-owned Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90. The games and NFL programming also will be available via the NFL mobile app.

As part of the deal, Verizon picked up rights to sell some in-game ad inventory on its platforms. The deal, which extends Verizon as an official sponsor of the league, also will include mobile access to highlights throughout the year and Verizon-produced shows. Verizon has been an NFL partner since ’10. Starting next season, it will be the presenting sponsor of the Pro Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine.