The National Football League (NFL) has finally launched its mobile streaming service, NFL Plus. The service is available in two different tiers: NFL Plus and NFL Plus Premium, for $4.99/month ($39.99/year) or $9.99/month ($79.99/year), respectively.
Both NFL Plus and Premium offer the ability to stream live local or national broadcasts of regular and postseason games (including the playoffs, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl), but only on the screen of a mobile phone or tablet – not on your television. There’s also live game audio for all games (with your choice of home, away or national broadcasters), the full range of preseason games, and ad-free access to NFL’s on-demand programming. NFL Premium comes with a few extra perks, including ad-free full and abbreviated game replays, as well as access to Coaches Film.
NFL Plus has been rumored since March and was confirmed earlier this month by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL has long partnered with Verizon to allow its customers to stream live games from their mobile devices and later extended those rights to any mobile carrier. However, these deals do not include out-of-market games.
In an interview with The Wall Street JournalGoodell says the NFL doesn’t have any solid predictions about how many subscribers the service will bring in its first year. “We’re playing the long game,” Goodell says. “It’s about building and learning relationships. We’re not judging this by whether we hit 500,000 subscribers in the first five months.”
With the launch of the new subscription, NFL says it will abolish Game Pass. The service offered some of the same features, such as the ability to stream live and on-demand games, but also gave users the option to stream from their TV or console. This means you still need an NFL Sunday Ticket subscription if you want all the out-of-market games on your TV or mobile device.
DirecTV currently holds the rights to Sunday Ticket, but it will expire at the end of this year’s football season. Goodell notes that the NFL plans to come up with a new Sunday Ticket deal. According to a report by The New York TimesGoogle has already made an offer for the service, which will allow users to stream games from YouTube. However, sources tell the Time that Apple is currently the closest to scoring the pack.
The NFL’s move comes as streaming services ramp up their efforts to land live sports deals. Last November, Amazon signed a deal with the NFL for the exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football, starting with the 2023 season. Paramount Plus also offers access to live NFL games through CBS, while Apple TV Plus struck a deal with Major League Baseball ( MLB) to stream Friday Night Baseball.
Adding sports to streaming services can help keep subscribers interested in sports and other content, something that could help other services compete with Disney-owned ESPN Plus, which recently announced a price increase. ESPN Plus will be streaming an NFL game exclusively this fall and has the rights to Major League Soccer and National Hockey League games. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has also suggested integrating sports betting into ESPN Plus, something FuboTV has already delved into. In June, FuboTV added a feature that allows users in Iowa and Arizona to place cash bets, while viewers in other states can compete with friends to earn points by predicting the outcome of a game.