What a delightful week this is turning out to be for Verizon. First, archrival AT&T decides it will ditch its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA (as if they weren’t grinning madly in the halls of Verizon’s Art Deco building down on West Street) and then they get a piece of this NBC deal to stream the Super Bowl. No doubt, in the greater scheme of things the AT&T news trumps the streaming deal — but every little thing helps in the crazy competitive telecoms world.
Here’s the upshot: For the first time NFL postseason games — including the Super Bowl — will be streamed live online over NFL.com and NBCSports.com and over mobile devices through an app supplied by Verizon. This is NBC’s deal; Fox tells us they have “no similar plans” while we’re CBS declined to comment on whether they would do a streaming deal..
The advantage for Verizon is clear: It’s just one more differentiator. (Verizon has really been on a roll lately. Beyond the events mentioned above, they swooped in to buy a ton of cable spectrum for $3.6 billion and made headlines with their plans to take on Netflix with a streaming service).
For NBC, the thinking is they can add an online audience to their already huge TV football audience. Joe Football Fan will watch the Super Bowl and all of its $3 million-plus commercials on the big TV screen at the same time he is watching the streaming coverage on his phone or PC, which will include a bunch of extra stuff such as additional camera angles, sideline updates and in-game analysis. In other words, it will be complementary.
At least that’s the plan. And it’s likely to work out just fine for NBC. When it comes to the Super Bowl, football fans crave all the information they can get, and having access to the game on your mobile phone while your sitting in a loud, crowded living room party would, frankly, be helpful.