The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Buffalo Bills in London during the upcoming 2015 NFL season. The Jags play one game a year at London but for 2015 something new will be added to the mix: streaming of the game online. Today it was announced that Yahoo will be streaming the first every online NFL game, for free.
This is a big step forward for the NFL and a big win for Yahoo as they continue to try and stay relevant.
That October 25 game is going to be a landmark for the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars will the showcase in what may be their first winnable game in London since they started playing there a few years ago.
Per Re/Code, industry experts speculate that Yahoo paid as much as $20 million for the rights to stream the game. This is huge for Yahoo, especially as they will control ads for the game on their stream. Writer Peter Kafka is quick to note that this venture has a lot of unknown variables for Yahoo. Chief among them is the timing of the afternoon game, which will air in the early morning for the American audience. If it draws in more European people curious in the NFL, this would matter less. Further, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills are among the smallest markets in the NFL, providing less of a draw for both potential American and European viewers. I’ll let Kafka elaborate on other unknowns in his own words:
"Other unknowns for the game (which will also air on conventional broadcast and cable TV in Buffalo and Jacksonville) include the streaming quality, and the overall experience for digital viewers, who are supposed to be able to watch the game on a variety of devices: Phones, PCs, and TVs with built-in Internet connections or those connected to devices like Apple TVs, Google Chromecasts and Xbox 360s."
If things do go off without a hitch, Yahoo could find itself in prime position to become the internet streamer for future NFL games. While most rights are already locked in with TV networks, Yahoo could see its control of some games grow, especially as test markets before the current TV deals expire in 2022. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer apparently “personally wooed the N.F.L.’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, during the negotiations, according to people at both organizations” to win the bid. The NFL could end up being a jumping off point for Yahoo to stream other sports, according to speculation from New York Times writers Vindu Goel and Ken Belson.
Overall, this is a win-win-win for the NFL, Yahoo, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags get their team in front of more people, the NFL expands into digital even further, and Yahoo benefits by remaining relevant and sending a test balloon out in the world of sports streaming. This is an exciting step forward for all of them.
Hopefully everything goes well for the game and its coverage. New developments like this are exactly the reason Jaguars owner Shad Khan was looking to expand the market for the Jaguars and build a brand that can be marketed more modernly. His vision has paid off so far and it looks like it will continue to for the Jaguars.
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