The NFL has always been an organization that thrives on changing and evolving, from the rules on the field to the equipment the players wear to the manner in which it brings the fans the sport. And now it’s getting ready to fully immerse itself in the modern entertainment era by putting some of its focus on streaming games live on the Internet. And the first place that viewers will be able to find their digital football fix will be on Yahoo platforms later this year.
This partnership between the NFL and Yahoo! Inc. will come to fruition on October 25 for a match-up between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. It won’t just be any old regular season game, either, as this will also be in partnership with the NFL‘s International Series, and this will be the season’s game in London. Considering Yahoo’s reach goes all over the globe, that makes a certain amount of sense.
Because NFL games are most often watched by the home teams, the Bills-Jaguars game will be telecast in markets in both Buffalo and Jacksonville. But because the match-up is going to be played at a normal time in London, it will be airing in the U.S. at 9:30 a.m. ET. Which means it’ll probably only be the most diehard of West Coast football fans that will be tuning in for this one. Nothing like some quarterback sacks and touchdowns to serve as the perfect items to pair with cereal or an English muffin. I’m just going to go ahead and predict that I’ll be reading about the results of this game during the normal pregame shows.
The game won’t only be streaming through Yahoo’s main website, either. They’re going to be putting it out everywhere they know how, including Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen and Tumblr. These sites get combined monthly users topping 1billion, so that should make for a sizeable audience even if it’s not entirely domestic.
While the NFL has streamed the Super Bowl before, that was through the dedicated TV network, and Yahoo will be the first non-network company to pick a game up. And while it may seem like an odd one to kick off the streaming revolution – especially when you consider neither the Bills nor the Jaguars are league leaders – that might be so Yahoo can test the tech aspects to make sure they’re bug-free enough to allow for larger games to be streamed down the road.
Yahoo has taken the first half of 2015 to assert itself as a force to be reckoned with as a streaming service, picking up Season 6 (and possibly more) of Community and bringing Paul Feig’s sci-fi comedy Other Space to audiences through Yahoo Screen, among other things. A deal with the NFL can only help them continue up the ladder, and we’re excited to see where this deal goes from here.