Live-Streaming NFL Game Could Be Big First Step for Yahoo

Yahoo plans to live-stream Sunday’s game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. The matchup, being played at London’s Wembley Stadium and produced by CBS, will be streamed globally for free via Yahoo’s platforms including Screen and Tumblr. Streaming the game could be a possible first step for Yahoo and the NFL in developing online offerings alongside broadcast and cable TV deals. The NFL has been pushing for new revenue opportunities and has considered partnerships with Silicon Valley in the past.

NFL_LogoWhile the NFL has long-term TV rights deals, its Thursday night deal with CBS is up after this season, and the league is planning at least two London games each season for the next five years.

“There are a lot of people who want to put this into the box of an experiment or a stunt and it is not,” said Brian Rolapp, NFL’s EVP of media. “We wouldn’t put a game out there if we didn’t think this was real distribution.”

American Express, Citi, Microsoft, Snickers, Subway and T-Mobile are among the more than 30 brands that will be advertising during the stream, reportedly paying $150,000 or less for the sold-out spots.

Dairy Queen is sponsoring the pregame show, while Toyota is sponsoring the halftime show.

“That figure is far beneath the $500,000 per 30-second spot that Fox and CBS typically get for Sunday afternoon games,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Yahoo paid $20 million for the rights to the Jaguars-Bills game, according to people familiar with agreement.”

The New York Times notes that brands will “have the option of running their ads globally or in the United States.”

The game, to be called by announcers Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon, is scheduled to stream on Yahoo’s platforms at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. CBS coverage will air on TV in the Buffalo and Jacksonville markets. The last NFL game broadcast from London generated 9 million viewers on CBS.