For about four years, not Verizon has had exclusive rights to NFL games on mobile devices. This means if you want to watch an NFL game on your phone it needs to be done through Verizon’s NFL Mobile app. If you are using a service like DIRECTV NOW when you try to stream an NFL game on your phone on a mobile network you are likely to see a blackout message.
That contract with Verizon ends at the end of this season and according to a Sports Business Journal report today. According to the report the NFL plans to end that deal and will seek to spread around mobile rights.
This could give services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, DIRECTV NOW, and more the opportunity to stream NFL games on mobile devices. Now exactly how that would work and what rights the NFL plans to sell is currently unknown.
The source who talked to the Sports Business Journal said:
Only customers of Verizon can stream games on their phones, which has become an irritant for entities like ESPN, which pay for rights to platforms like “Monday Night Football” but then cannot offer it on mobile. Making the games available on as many platforms as possible is the goal, the NFL source said. Verizon could retain its sponsorship and rights to stream games, but it appears other mobile companies would get the opportunity to air the streams too.
Back when this deal was first made with Verizon there was no Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW, and others. Quickly the way people watch NFL games is changing and it looks like the NFL wants to change with them.
Just keep in mind this change will not happen until next year. Verizon still has exclusive mobile rights for the 2017-2018 season.
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