NBC tackles post-season NFL coverage with online offerings

NBC will stream live on the Internet and to select mobile phones Super Bowl XLVI, the Pro Bowl and NBC’s Wild Card Saturday doubleheader in addition to broadcasting traditional TV coverage of the games — the first time the post-season games will be available online and via mobile phone in the United States, the NFL announced last week.

The games will be streamed live on NFL.com and NBCSports.com, and they will be available on NFL Mobile only from Verizon Wireless, the league said.

Live streaming coverage of the games on NFL.com and NBCSports.com will consist of the network’s television coverage of the games as well as complementary streams to enrich the online viewing experience. NFL Mobile coverage of the post-season games will consist of the NBC broadcast.
NBC began streaming live NFL games during the 2008 season with its Sunday Night Football Extra experience. SNF Extra provides online viewers additional camera angles, full HD-quality layer, DVR functionality, online-only sideline updates and Tweets from an SNF sideline reporter, as well as in-game chats and analysis. The network will offer the same type of experience with its online presentation of the post-season games, said Rick Cordella, VP and general manager, NBC Sports Digital Media.

“By adding multiple camera angles, HD-quality video, and DVR controls along with social interactivity, our online streaming represents a compelling, second-screen experience that nicely complements NBC's on-air presentation,” said Cordella.

NFL Mobile launched in 2010. It has become one of Verizon Wireless’ most successful apps, with millions of customers downloading games on their smartphones.

The New York Post reported Dec. 23 that the American Television Alliance, a lobbying group representing cable, satellite and phone companies, is seeking to use the fact that NBC will steam the post-season games online as leverage in ongoing retransmission consent disputes with local stations.

Why should pay-TV operators pay stations for programming, such as the post-season games, that the network is giving away for free online, the group said.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.