Verizon Intercepts NFL Mobile

by Matt Klassen on March 12, 2010

For several months now the NFL has been enticing the mobile world with news that it would release the NFL Redzone channel on mobile phones this year, offering unprecedented game-day coverage on the go to those willing to pay the hefty price. While Sprint, which already boasted a widely popular NFL app, and AT&T, with its cadre of iPhone users desperate for reliable access to NFL broadcasts, were rumoured to be in the mix, it was Verizon that intercepted the NFL’s hail-Mary pass and ran it to the house.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Verizon has signed an exclusive mobile broadcasting deal with the NFL worth an estimated $720 million, and the new service is set to debut next month at the NFL draft. While many are surely mourning the loss of the NFL on their networks, Verizon’s offer is said to be more than 50% higher than the offer put forward by Sprint, the next highest bidder in the running.

With its release, NFL Mobile will initially provide users with complete live streaming coverage of the draft, as well as on-demand features like in-depth analysis from NFL insiders and a pick-by-pick tracking system. The beauty of this new NFL feature, however, is the regular season features that football fanatics will have at their fingertips.

Not only will users get access to the all-football, all-the-time Redzone channel, but live streaming feeds of Sunday and Thursday night games, on-demand highlights, analysis, radio broadcasts, and a whole lot more.

For all those addicted to the constant influx of football stats, scores, and highlights, Verizon will soon be the only pusher of the NFL drug. What that means, sadly, is that only Verizon mobile phones will carry the NFL, no exceptions.

It’s certainly bad news for AT&T iPhone customers who will have to live without streaming NFL games, at least in any official capacity, for the next four years, and it’s really bad news for Sprint customers who will find that their NFL football app stops working by the end of the month. While, as James Falconer of IntoMobile writes, “a new ‘Sprint Football Live’ app is said to be replacing the NFL app…you know all of that live video and exclusive content you’re used to seeing? Well, it looks like you’re out of luck.”

But who can really blame the NFL for opting for Verizon exclusively when the report indicates that no other bid even came close to what America’s most reliable carrier was offering. The real question is, though, will dangling this NFL carrot in front of football-crazed mobile users be enough to lure them to Verizon’s network? For some, most definitely, but it will only be a matter of time before these other carriers find a way to circumvent the law and bring their customers quality NFL action…and if not NFL, then maybe the CFL.

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