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Volume 20 No. 41
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NFL wraps up Verizon renewal, but details still to come

The NFL has completed its streaming and sponsorship renewal with Verizon, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and chairman of the league’s media committee said. He did not say how long the new deal extends for or the financial terms.

An NFL spokesman also declined to disclose details, pointing out the streaming is limited to mobile phones and tablets, not TVs and other connected devices as an earlier report had said.

The new deal is not believed to give Verizon exclusivity on streaming to mobile phones, which it has in its current deal that ends this season. Verizon paid $1 billion over four years to be the league’s official wireless partner, which included those exclusive streaming rights, so when the league formally unveils the new one in coming weeks, how much the telecommunications company paid will be noteworthy.

“We know we have lost young people, millennials, who you know just don’t have TVs and only want to watch on their iPad or mobile phones,” Kraft told SportsBusiness Journal’s Dealmakers In Sports conference last week. “And I think we have done something that will get announced soon that will make a big difference there.”

Kraft was interviewed at the conference with his son, Jonathan. Asked about the streaming deal after the session as he walked a few blocks to NFL headquarters, he confirmed it to be the Verizon deal.

A league spokesman said there were still a few details left to be finalized.

Currently, only Verizon subscribers can stream NFL games on their mobile phones. A league source said in October the intent of the league is to make the game available in as many places as possible, so it is a fair assumption that Verizon’s exclusivity would end.

Verizon could not immediately be reached for comment.