And that means the era of free live games on your phone is over.
The new NFL+ functionally adds to, replaces, and rebrands NFL Game Pass and free live-game streaming fans previously could access through Verizon/Yahoo, other mobile providers, and the league’s apps, but it Limiting regular- and postseason games to streaming on phones and tablets while preventing them from being cast to smart TVs or computers.
In other words, it gears more towards mobile users. And while that’s not inherently a bad thing — especially in the midst of a cord-cutting trend — it does mean that NFL fans live without their holy grail: a streaming service that offers literally all games. Whether something like this ever comes remains to be seen.
Here’s an FAQ guide to everything we know about NFL+ so far.
Why is the NFL deploying this service?
The broadcasting industry continues to revolutionize the way people consume content. While traditional linear TV viewers remain in large numbers, the number of US TV households with cable or satellite has declined from 110 million several years ago to about 70 million today. Many of those cord-cutting families have chosen streaming services as replacements, so the NFL is going where its fans are going. About 5 percent of NFL live-game viewers are digital, and that number is expected to grow. Younger fans stream more, so sports leagues are trying to reach the demo where it is consuming the content. It’s Taken Years To Plan NFL+ With League Owners informed about the launch in March.
How much will NFL+ cost?
There are two price levels. The basic tier is $4.99 per month or $39 for the year. The premium tier is $9.99 per month or $79 per year. There is a seven day free trial.
What is the difference between levels?
The cheaper tier lets you play local and prime-time regular-season and post-season games on your phone or tablet, live out-of-market pre-season games on those devices or your TV, live game audio for all games, and ad-free gives access. In the NFL’s library of on-demand content such as NFL Films and NFL Network programming.
The Premium tier includes everything from NFL Game Pass, everything from the original NFL+ tier, as well as ad-free full and condensed (45-minute) game replays and ad-free All-22 (which is birds-eye-view). is) video viewed by players and coaches). Condensed replays go back to 2009.
Can I watch regular-season and playoff games live on my TV through NFL+?
No, live regular-season and playoff games are only available on your phone or tablet. The service blocks casting on Smart TV or Laptop/Computer. Only pre-season games can be viewed live via NFL+ on your connected TV or computer, as can replays.
The NFL currently only has phone and tablet streaming rights for live regular season and post-season games. The league’s 11-year, $113 billion media rights deal that kicks off this season includes live-game TV streaming rights for the NFL’s broadcast partners.
So how can I watch live games on my huge and expensive living room TV?
The way you always have it: via your local or national TV broadcast through your cable or satellite provider and their certified streaming services, or through NFL Sunday Ticket for most out-of-market games.
Doesn’t this limit the usefulness of the new streaming service?
Yes. But the NFL has a complex ecosystem of broadcast and streaming rights with its various media partners, many of whom offer their own paid streaming apps, so it’s no surprise. The league believes fans will pay for live games, replays, audio and a mix of library and coaching materials. “Now is the right time for us to package this together into a product that is more substantial at a price that we find attractive,” said David Jurenka, senior vice president of NFL Media. Told Los Angeles Times.
Why shouldn’t I just subscribe to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket?
You can, and its games are available on your device and on your TV, but it’s $300 per season. This gives you all the out-of-home Sunday games not broadcast locally by Fox or CBS affiliates in your market. It also does not broadcast national primetime games on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays. Those streaming rights belong to NFL Network, NBC and ESPN/ABC. Also in the game: AT&T, which owns DirecTV, is giving up Sunday Ticket and exclusive out-of-market rights after 28 years. Sunday Ticket is expected to become a streaming service after this season, and Apple, Amazon, Disney and Google are all reportedly interested in buying the rights to it, which is expected to be worth at least $2 billion. How this ultimately affects NFL+ is not yet known.
Could NFL Sunday Ticket come to live within the NFL+ service, perhaps in the form of an even more expensive tier?
It’s a Wild West, so it wouldn’t be entirely shocking. It’s time for networks, streamers, tech giants and sports leagues to experiment. Perhaps the NFL uses the threat of putting Sunday Tickets on NFL+ to promote offers from Apple, Amazon and the rest, who want Sunday Tickets as a tool to grow their paid services.
Didn’t the NFL previously offer free local market games through its app and Verizon customers through Yahoo Sports?
Yes. NFL+ replaces those free options. Last year, Yahoo-owner Verizon didn’t renew its NFL mobile streaming rights it’s had since 2010. The carrier, which dropped the NFL streaming exclusivity in 2017, opted instead to focus on technology and marketing under a new 10-year deal. NFL, which involves building a more robust 5G network in stadiums. Its expiring non-exclusive streaming deal was for all NFL games except those made out-of-market on DirecTV. The streaming rights with Verizon were reportedly worth $400 million and could earn more today if the NFL chooses to partner with another company.
Could the NFL+ finally allow me to stream live regular-season and playoff games on my smart TV or computer?
This is absolutely something that the NFL can do, and may do at some point, but there is no timeline. Here’s what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told The Associated Press this week about NFL+: “We think it’s a big step forward. It will evolve, build and get better as more and more content becomes available on this platform. The work we’ve done with either other offerings or research has helped us frame it in a way that we think will be very engaging and engage our fans. ,
Will NFL+ be subject to blackout?
No, but pre-season home games in your local market will not be available on the service if they are shown by Fox or CBS stations. The NFL allows teams to sell local in-market TV rights for preseason home games, while regular season and playoff broadcast rights are sold nationally by the league.
Will all national sports be available through NFL+?
Yes, but the above tablet/phone vs smart TV rules apply.
Is this another app to download?
No. You access the NFL+ through the NFL app or NFL.com.
How many fans are expected to sign up?
The NFL didn’t disclose any estimates, but with young sports fans increasingly consuming live sports via streaming, it could be a healthy amount before long.
What happens to NFL Game Pass?
NFL+ has replaced it domestically. And if you were an NFL Game Pass subscriber — it was $100 a year — you’re automatically included in an NFL+ subscription with auto-renewal enabled.
What about the international audience?
NFL Game Pass will remain operational for viewers outside the United States.
How many Game Pass subscribers are there?
The NFL has not disclosed any numbers.
Without the ability to stream live games to smart TVs, doesn’t this limit the number of potential NFL+ users?
Sure, but if the league is able to add smart TV live streaming, it will boost the user base. And because it’s the NFL’s streaming service within its own app, the league has full control. Even if the user base is initially limited, the $11 billion NFL would be A-OK. It’s a long-term play in the fast-growing streaming market.
Will the NFL ever offer team-specific streaming, like mlb does?
There would be hope. The NFL has said it is always studying options and listening to fans, but whether it eventually leads to single-team streaming is too soon to know. If the league thinks it can benefit from team-specific streaming, it will one day. MLB charges a $74.99 annual fee for its MLB.TV single-team package via the MLB app that offers out-of-market games.
What will be the first game on NFL+?
What about latency?
This remains an issue for all streaming, even as work is done to try to eliminate it. The Super Bowl reportedly had a lag of about 40 seconds for streamers due to latency issues. On-demand video, such as the NFL’s library of content on Netflix and possibly NFL+, is content that already exists on the server, so the lag time should be zero. On the other hand, live streaming is a near real-time transmission feed that is subject to technical issues. There is some gap built-in to ensure a smooth stream. But it can be a nuisance for the viewers who watch social media updates before the action on their screens. If latency is an issue for NFL+, subscribers will immediately take to Twitter to complain.
Why does any of this matter?
NFL games are the gold standard of American television, accounting for 75 of the top 100 broadcasts last year and commanding massive audiences — nearly 17 million a game — and huge media rights deals.
(Photo: Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)