Verizon struck a partnership with the NFL to stream in-market and national games across the carrier’s digital media network.
Reuters reports Verizon will pay $2.25 billion for the five-year deal, which brings pre-season, regular season and playoff games, including the Super Bowl, to Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, go90 and the NFL mobile app. Verizon will also offer highlights packages and original content jointly developed with the league.
Sunday afternoon out-of-market games remain on AT&T’s DirecTV Sunday Ticket package.
Under the agreement, which starts in January, Verizon loses its exclusive rights to air NFL games as they become available on any mobile device regardless of carrier. Wells Fargo analysts, however, see the move as part of Verizon’s bigger mobile advertising push.
“In our view, this announcement seems to be more about developing its mobile advertising platform — which has clearly been a top focus for [Verizon],” Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in a note to investors Monday.
Through its digital and mobile properties, Verizon said it reaches more than 200 million unique viewers in the U.S.
“With the recent consolidation of these properties in the Oath division, we would expect this to take on more of a growing focus for [Verizon] in 2018,” Fritzsche added.
Fritzsche noted the partnership comes as many tech companies are increasingly interested in sports content. Amazon, for example, had global streaming rights to the Thursday Night Football lineup last season.
“The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it,” Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement. “We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.”