NFL launches exclusive streaming subscription service NFL+
The NFL launched a streaming service Monday. That sounds like a football fan's dream, but it's probably not what you think.
Media Insider Staff Writers
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The National Football League has launched its own streaming service, betting that the growing number of cable TV cord-cutters will pay to watch certain games on mobile devices.
NFL+, which debuts Monday, costs $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year. In addition to live games, it features shows from the NFL Network and archives of NFL Films. A premium version of the service, which includes commercial-free replays of games, costs $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year.
Here's the catch!
NFL+ is also available exclusively on phones and mobile tablets. Users won't be able to stream games to TVs using the service.
The NFL may be dipping its foot into more streaming waters, but it is not throwing away the old fashioned way of watching games. This is good news for the television industry, because the NFL is among the biggest ratings drivers on the air. But it allows the league to experiment a bit in the streaming world, make some extra cash and build a subscriber base with fans who are more focused on streaming.
“The passionate and dedicated football fans are the lifeblood of the NFL and being able to reach and interact with them across multiple platforms is incredibly important to us,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a statement. “ We look forward to continuing to grow NFL+ and deepening our relationship with fans across all ages and demographics, providing them access to a tremendous amount of NFL content, including the most valuable content in the media industry: live NFL games.”
The NFL is entering the streaming wars at a interesting time and may create problems for the industry. Netflix, the company that blazed the industry’s path into this new frontier, has been shedding viewers.
Netflix and Disney+ plan to launch ad-supported tiers of their commercial-free services to lure what they hope will be budget-conscious new subscribers. And competition in the space has intensified, thanks to new or revamped offerings ranging from Amazon to Paramount+ to Peacock.
That said, the NFL is the 900 pound gorilla of television and entertainment and will undoubtedly change the landscape of the streaming world.
Peacock and Apple have both launched new deals with Major League Baseballto stream packages of games. Apple has also picked up rights to Major League Soccer. Amazon has long steamed the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” but gains sole control over the property this fall. Previously, the Thursday games had also aired on a major TV network, most recently Fox.
“NFL+” will allow fans to view out-of-market preseason games on all devices; local and national regular-season and postseason games on mobile devices; team and national radio feeds, NFL Network shows on-demand along with the NFL Films archive. It could also include content produced by teams. It will be able to be accessed through the NFL app and website.
It is an upgrade of the “Game Pass” service that has been available to fans in the United States since 2015. The league began offering a package in which fans could watch replays of games online — appropriately called “Game Rewind” — in 2009. It started to gain favor among fans and analysts in 2012 when it added coaches film, including two angles where all 22 players on the field could be viewed.
More below from the Associated Press.