NFL+—the National Football League’s exclusive video streaming subscription service has officially launched.
The new service, much like its “NFL Game Pass,” targets mobile devices with viewers only able to access out-of-market preseason games, live, local and primetime regular season and postseason games on phones and tablets. NFL+, however, will allow subscribers to listen to live local and national audio for every game, as well as NFL Network shows on-demand, NFL FIlms archives and more on the big living room/mancave screen.
The launch also means that “NFL Game Pass” will no longer be available in the United States, the NFL said. NFL+ is available in the NFL App across all app stores for $4.99/month or $39.99/year. Fans can upgrade to NFL+ Premium for $9.99/month or $79.99/year, which offers all of the features of NFL+ as well as full and condensed game replays and the All-22 Coaches Film.
With the launch of NFL+, the league is joining a crowded field of sports streaming services that started two decades ago with the introduction of MLB.TV and gained further prominence with the debut of ESPN+ in 2018. And with tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Hulu signing agreements to broadcast MLB and NFL games on their streaming platforms, the pressure is on both pro sports leagues and traditional broadcast and cable outlets to protect their live sports legacies, which are among the most attractive and lucrative programming options—while at the same time targeting video services that younger viewers are more likely to watch.
The NFL’s campaign to lure younger viewers ramped up a half-decade ago when ratings started sagging and the league saw its future in online streaming.
“We focus an awful lot on millennials and Generation X. This isn’t probably the right term, but they’re probably more distracted,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Newsday in 2018. “They have more options. They have more opportunities to go get information whenever they want. We have to adjust as a league to that. We have been focused on that.
“That’s why we’re focusing on new deals with Verizon, as an example, to make our games available on handsets and phones and tablets so that our younger fans, in particular, who are more likely to watch on a tablet or phone, have that available to them . . . You have to make your product accessible . . . That’s the challenge for us is that our fan base, our society, technology, is all changing.”
Goodell commented on today's launch, noting that the league will follow viewers to whatever platform they choose.
“Today marks an important day in the history of the National Football League with the launch of NFL+,” Goodell said. “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. 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.”
Provided below is a breakdown of the NFL+ and NFL+ Premium products:
- Live local and primetime games on mobile and tablet devices
- Live out-of-market preseason games across all devices
- Live game audio (home, away and national calls) for every game of the season
- NFL library programming on-demand (ad-free)
- $4.99/month or $39.99/year
- NFL+ Premium (includes features of product formerly known as NFL Game Pass)
- All features of NFL+
- Full game replays across devices (ad-free)
- Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
- Coaches Film including All-22 (ad-free)
- $9.99/month or $79.99/year
- Empty list
Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.
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