As Offseason Ends, NFL's Quest For World Domination Continues
The long, long NFL offseason is finally over. The past seven months of football-less existence have only been gearing us up for the official start of the year: Week One.
A lot has happened in the time leading up to this moment. Rex Ryan became the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Jets quarterback Geno Smith got his jaw punched to smithereens by teammate IK Enemkpali over $500. The Washington Redskins are in the midst of a very ugly breakup with formerly beloved QB Robert Griffin III. And there was also some minor thing that happened to a bottom-tier team’s low-profile quarterback that revolved around…squishy footballs?
Hopefully, all of the shenanigans that happened throughout the league during the offseason can be pushed to the side to make way for what is to come starting September 10, 2015 all the way until Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016.
One of the most major upcoming developments that was somewhat overshadowed by the rest of what occurred during the offseason might end up being the defining moment in the NFL achieving global dominance. Back in March, the league announced that it would be live streaming the October 25th matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars (how exciting) around the world via a digital platform.
After shopping the rights for this monumental Internet move to multiple players including Google, Apple, and Amazon, the league announced in June that it had chosen Yahoo! to broadcast the game.
"The NFL has always been committed to being at the forefront of media innovation. Through this partnership with Yahoo– one of the world’s most recognizable digital brands – we are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
Yahoo will allow viewers to watch through the Yahoo site itself, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen, and Tumblr via computer, smartphone, smartTV, or game console. Bills vs. Jaguars will be played in London as part of the NFL’s continuing efforts to broaden its worldwide audience, and the live stream will start 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.
Although the matchup will still be available in the Bills and Jaguars’ local markets, everyone else around the country will only be able to catch the game through the options offered by Yahoo. This will mark the first time the NFL has used a medium other than those provided by their television partners to bring the game to fans, and will also be an experiment to gauge how overseas audiences respond to the accessibility of a free broadcast.
Moving further into the digital media landscape and offering free games to viewers around the world will inevitably lead to a lucrative contract with the lucky partners the NFL chooses to help them reach their expanded audience. But at the same time, the league has already granted distribution rights for games all the way into 2023. DirecTV also recently signed an eight-year, $12 billion deal with the NFL.
Taking this into consideration, if the live stream receives positive feedback, all of the league’s digital partners will want the streaming rights for future games. So the Bills-Jaguars game will not only be used to test the waters for worldwide NFL coverage, but will also allow the league to potentially increase the value of its product and use it as leverage to create a new source of revenue.