NFL fans -- especially cord-cutters -- will be happy to know that The National Football League has confirmed it is launching its own direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming service (NFL+) and that its new Sunday Ticket partner will be a streaming service.
The news was confirmed today by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference. A winner of the Sunday Ticket will be chosen by the fall, he said.
With the upcoming launch of NFL+, the league is hoping consumers, particularly younger viewers and die-hard football fans, will flock to the service as streaming is more accessible and cheaper than pay-TV subscriptions.
TechCrunch reported in May that the mobile-focused streaming service would cost around $5 per month and would launch in July, as stated by Sports Business Journal. However, Goodell said that the league is launching NFL+ in time for the upcoming season in September. No details about pricing were disclosed.
Goodell didn’t specify what content will be offered on the DTC service, but according to reports, NFL+ would feature live in-market games as well as other possible content like radio, podcasts and team-created content.
“We think we have a lot of content and a lot of ability to be able to do that. The consumers want it. And so, we're very excited about what the NFL+ is going to be. But it's really an early stage. I think over the years, you'll see that continue to grow,” Goodell told CNBC.
When discussing the potential next home for NFL Sunday Ticket, he said, “I clearly believe we’ll be moving to a streaming service. I think that’s best for consumers at this stage.”
DirecTV has carried Sunday Ticket since it was founded in 1994, and its contract will expire after this season. Goodell said year-long discussions have been taking place to find a replacement.
Apple, Amazon and Disney, owner of ESPN+, are all in the running to be the league’s exclusive Sunday Ticket distributor, and all three streamers have submitted bids. While DirecTV paid $1.5 billion for annual rights, the NFL is now charging more than $2 billion a year.
Given the decline of traditional pay-TV subscriptions, The National Football League’s decision to embrace streaming is a clear indicator that the trend of sports media rights leaving network channels will only continue in the near future.