CBS announced a major addition to its National Football League broadcasts today, with live streaming of all NFL games coming to Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast via the CBS All Access service, plus an extension of the partnership to 2022. The financial terms of the deal were not publicized. (Disclosure: CBS Corp. is the parent company of CBS Interactive, which owns Download.com.)
The NFL previously had an exclusive live mobile streaming arrangement with Verizon Wireless, but the two companies announced in December of last year that this deal would be coming to an end starting with the 2018 season. But the new CBS deal is not exclusive. News Corp. spent $3.3 billion in January to secure a five-year deal for Thursday Night Football on the Fox broadcast network, Amazon has an agreement to stream Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video, and NBC retains the rights to air Sunday Night Football, which has become the dominant timeslot for the sport.
What is the CBS All Access streaming video service?
The new CBS package also offers viewers a potentially large savings over pre-existing cable and streaming packages that offer to show you every game. The NFL Game Pass currently costs $100 a year, and DirecTV's Sunday Ticket recently raised its fee to $293.94 for the 2018 season. In contrast, All Access asks $5.99 a month for the Limited Commercials tier, or $9.99 a month for Commercial Free.
While the NFL preseason doesn't get under way until August, you can stream Star Trek discovery on-demand right now, in addition to other exclusive shows, full seasons of CBS programing, plus a live stream of the CBS broadcast from your local affiliate. (Note that live TV streams on All Access will still have ads coming from the network itself.)
The National Football League seeks to shore up eyeballs
The NFL has been experiencing declining viewership over the last year or so, so reaching audiences who don't watch TV in a traditional manner is one of the ways that they can hit the numbers that let them ask for big price tags on partnerships of this size. For example, in 2011, when the Super Bowl hit an all-time viewership record, the league was able to wrangle $27 billion out of NBC for exclusive Sunday Night Football broadcast rights through 2022. (As you may have noticed, this is the same year that the new CBS deal is set to expire, although extensions for this sort of thing are not uncommon.)
Also in 2011, ESPN coughed up $15.2 billion to extend its deal for Monday Night Football through 2021 -- nearly the same expiration as the other two partnerships. Is the National Football League aligning these expirations for a particular reason, or is that just how the cards have been falling? At the least, it's an interesting coincidence.
- You will still get Monday Night Football on ESPN, Sunday Night Football on NBC, and Thursday Night Football on Fox and on Amazon. This deal just expands your streaming options to CBS All Access, which will have every game.
- CBS All Access is a paid service, but it's relatively inexpensive compared to current NFL streaming options.
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