The NFL is making its move into the streaming game by offering its own media streaming platform.
On Monday, the league announced that “NFL+” had officially launched. The service 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, and the NFL Films archive.
It could also include content produced by teams and will be accessible 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 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 – known as All-22 coaches film.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a phone interview with The Associated Press that the direct-to-consumer offering gives the league the ability to understand what fans are seeking in terms of content and customize it for them.
“We think this is a major step forward. It will evolve, build and get better as more and more content becomes available on this platform. The work that we’ve done either with other offerings or research has helped us sort of frame this in a way that we think would be very attractive and engage our fans.”
The launch of “NFL+” comes as 15 Thursday night games will be carried exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, and the league continues its push to reach as many fans as possible in numerous ways. The “Sunday Ticket” package of out-of-market Sunday games currently will expire at the end of this season. Amazon, Apple, and Google have emerged as the frontrunners to take over the rights that DirecTV has held since 1994.
The key to the Sunday Ticket package is the live regular-season and playoff games. While NFL+ will not have that initially, the league did regain mobile rights after its contracts with mobile carriers expired at the end of last season, so subscribers will be able to watch full games on mobile devices.
“NFL+” will be available for $4.99/month or $39.99/year. A premium package — which includes full and condensed game replays as well as the all-22 coaches film — is $9.99/month or $79.99/year. The “Game Pass” package was previously available for $100/year.
“NFL+” will be automatic for fans who purchase season tickets for their teams.
“We’ve had our toe in the water with ‘Game Pass,’ but this is our next step forward,” said Hans Schroeder, the executive vice president of NFL Media. “We think this will be attractive for fans and sort of bring down the price point for fans on a monthly basis. There is an eye on future content down the road. We’re excited to see where this can go this year and beyond.”
Commissioner Goodell said recently the league is hoping to make a decision about “Sunday Ticket” and possibly selling an equity stake in NFL Media properties by the end of the year.