The NFL and Verizon announced on Monday a multi-year deal that will allow games to be streamed on Verizon mobile and digital platforms.
Sports Business Daily reported that Verizon will pay the NFL close to $500 million a year -- about twice the annual price of the largest U.S. wireless carrier's previous four-year deal with the league worth $250 million annually. Sources told ESPN that Verizon will pay approximately $2.5 billion in a five-year deal with the NFL that lasts through 2022.
The partnership begins in January 2018, allowing the postseason games and Super Bowl LII available to streaming through Verizon, which previously live-streamed NFL games only to subscribers, over the NFL Mobile app and only on smartphones. Now fans can stream games on the Verizon media properties on any device, whether their mobile carrier is Verizon or not.
Verizon's portfolio of digital and mobile media properties, including Yahoo Sports, will stream in-market and national games, including national preseason, regular season, playoff games and the Super Bowl nationwide to sports fans -- regardless of mobile network.
"Verizon has been a key NFL partner, both in the distribution of games on NFL mobile and as a sponsor, since 2010 and we're thrilled to be both extending and expanding our relationship with them," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Our expanded partnership with Verizon is great for our fans. Starting with the upcoming playoffs and for seasons to come, live NFL action directly on your mobile device -- regardless of carrier -- will give millions of fans additional ways to follow their favorite sport."
Verizon has gone from being solely a mobile carrier to also being a video content company after its purchases of AOL in 2015 and Yahoo in 2017 for about $4.4 billion each.
In addition to the expanded availability of live games, the new agreement will provide fans mobile access to NFL highlights throughout the year.
As part of the new deal, Verizon picked up rights to sell some in-game ad inventory on its platforms.
"We're making a commitment to fans for Verizon's family of media properties to become the mobile destination for live sports," said Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications. "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. We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience."