Yes, the photo on this article is old, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective in showing that Verizon has been involved in sports media for some time and is now a major player in the digital sports rights game. Verizon needs to be in the same sentence as Twitter, Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple when it comes to sports distribution technology. Reason? The announcement that Verizon will purchase Yahoo! for $4.8 billion.
Yahoo! has extensive sports media inventory. It is one of the leaders in hosting fantasy sports leagues and coverage. It has already partnered with the NFL in exclusively streaming a London game last season. It has the leader in breaking NBA news with Adrian Wojnarowski and The Vertical — The Vertical has also done some creative/successful streaming shows and coverage during the draft and free agency. In short, Yahoo! the company may not have been successful, but its sports coverage and content is still top of the line.
Verizon’s sports inventory and experience isn’t too shabby, either. The company most people associate with phones and internet service has been involved with sports for a long time. Some people will remember the ill-fated ESPN MVP phone that was an exclusive offering to Verizon. Since that failure, the company has pivoted and moved toward partnerships with leagues. The NFL and Verizon have been partners on streaming for years now. Verizon Fios — Verizon cable offering — has strong distribution relationships with many league channels. Verizon also has AOL as a media arm so the Yahoo! deal isn’t just an entry into the market. It is a strengthening of its current position.
It is a surprise competitors didn’t get involved in at least trying to pick off the Yahoo! sports content. Companies such as Microsoft could have benefited. Chinese companies — such as Dalian Wanda Group — bent on entering the sports media market also could have used the Yahoo! inventory. In the end, it’s a great chance for Verizon to cement itself in the world of sports digital distribution and content.