Verizon Gets Expanded Rights To NFL Games Under New Deal


Verizon Communications (VZ) and the National Football League have renewed their deal for digital, live streaming rights, with the telecom firm gaining expanded rights to games and distribution platforms but losing exclusive rights to whisk games to wireless phones.

X Verizon Wireless will continue offering live home-market streaming of NFL games while Verizon-owned Yahoo Sports and AOL will also stream games to smartphones, tablets, computers and web-connected TVs. Non-Verizon customers will be able to watch games on Yahoo and AOL.

Verizon also gained streaming rights to a broader slate of national preseason and regular season local games as well as nationally broadcast playoff games and the Super Bowl.

The NFL, however, insisted on reworking the deal so that local games can be watched on mobile phones on any national wireless network, such as AT&T (T) or Sprint (S). The reworked deal may also enable Hulu Live, Alphabet (GOOGL) Google's YouTube TV and CBS (CBS) All Access — three online video websites — to stream games to their customers via local broadcasters.

"Verizon essentially gets multiplatform live-streaming rights to the entire NFL schedule — with the exception of Sunday afternoon out-of-market games — which remain with AT&T's DirecTV Sunday Ticket," Jennifer Fritzsche, a Wells Fargo analyst, said in a note to clients.

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Terms were not disclosed. Various estimates pegged the 5-year deal at over $2 billion, with Verizon paying roughly $400 million to $450 million annually vs. the $250 million it paid under the previous contract.

The new deal kicks in next month. Verizon's Go90 mobile app will also have games available.

Verizon has formed the Oath-branded digital media company after acquiring Yahoo and AOL aiming to boost digital advertising revenue.

Shares in Verizon were up a fraction to 51.20 on the stock market today.


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