Thanks to a huge deal between Verizon and the NFL, professional football will have a widespread presence on mobile devices. On the heels of the recent announcement that Sunday Night Football will be featured by NBC on mobile devices in the next year comes an announcement regarding the broadcast of Monday Night Football. ESPN has expanded the digital rights of the program to making streaming games and highlights possible on mobile devices in a deal that is scheduled to go into effect Saturday, January 6th.
As many NFL fans may know, Monday Night Football will have come to an end by that point. Saturday, January 6 is the start of Wild Card weekend in the NFL, and the final Monday Night Football broadcasts of the season will happen Monday, December 25th. While ESPN won't have a chance to air Monday Night Football on phones before the end of this season, the deal is said to kick off with Wild Card Weekend, which sounds as though ESPN intends to at the very least offer NFL highlights of the upcoming playoff coverage to mobile users. ESPN intends to make Monday Night Football available via its apps on an authenticated basis.
As for the rest of season, the ESPN agreement contains the Pro Bowl which is due to air on Monday, January 29. Given that, and the fact that it has television coverage rights to the Pro Bowl, it's possible ESPN could acquire the rights to air the event on its mobile platform. In Verizon's initial deal, the company vowed to have mobile NFL streaming running on its own services by Sunday, January 21. Part of Verizon's deal in the acquisition of mobile streaming NFL rights was that it would be the presenting sponsor of the Pro Bowl, so while ESPN may have TV rights, Verizon might still keep the streaming of the event restricted to its brands.
In any case, it appears now the only variable remaining for mass streaming in the NFL is AT&T. As it stands, the only games in the NFL that are somewhat restricted following these landmark deals are out-of-market afternoon games during the regular season. Those remain with AT&T and its package NFL Sunday Ticket, which does offer an app that can be watched via a mobile device.
Monday Night Football is on ESPN this coming Monday, December 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET. For a look at some other non-sports related programming that will be premiering Christmas day, head on over to our fall premiere guide. Anyone wanting to look ahead at what's in store for 2018 can find out by visiting CinemaBlend's midseason premiere guide. For a look at some shows that premiered in 2017 and didn't make a big enough splash to survive another season, visit our cancellation guide. Don't forget to take a peek at our 2018 Netflix premiere rundown as well.