Verizon is paying the NFL $21 million dollars to stream a single game this season. The telecom giant will be streaming the Jaguars v. Ravens game from London in Week 3. Yahoo! paid $15 million for a similar game last year, so the dollar figure makes some sense . . . except for the fact that Amazon paid $50 million for 10 games of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package.
The dollar amount seems a bit odd. The Jaguars-Ravens will be the only game on during that time frame on a Sunday, but it’s not a great game. Neither team has huge marketable stars. Baltimore has been competitive but didn’t make the playoffs last year. The Jaguars have been bad for years now. It just seems like $21 million is a bit of an overreach.
The NFL has been working with multiple different streaming partners as they try to combat cord cutting and a disinterested millennial demographic. It makes sense that the NFL is trying to work with as many different companies as possible in the tech space. It allows the league to gain institutional knowledge from companies that know the space better than the league does.
It’s also a great way to convince each company that they should be interested bidders as more streaming rights become available in the future. The more companies that have had success working with the NFL, the more companies that will bid for the streaming rights. This drives up the price and will help the league get to its $25 billion revenue goal by 2027.
The questions is why Verizon is willing to pony up $21 million dollars for one game when Amazon got 10 for $5 million a pop. There are other factors in play. Verizon has been a mobile partner of the NFL for years now, so they want to keep the relationship going. Amazon also will be advertising with the NFL and its partners moving forward for $50 million could balloon once everyone finds out the advertising price.
One thing is for certain, the NFL is moving forward with its technology partners, and traditional broadcast partners have to start getting more worried with each passing deal.