The first NFL game to be globally streamed live, for free, over the Internet will be on Yahoo.com.
The Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game on Oct. 25 in London will be streamed for free to anyone with a device and an Internet connection on Yahoo, which has more than one billion monthly users between Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen and Tumblr. The game will start at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.
"We're thrilled that the NFL has chosen Yahoo for this historic opportunity,” said Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo. “It marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content. The NFL and Yahoo have both long engaged football fans around the world. Our partnership provides the ultimate football experience – with digital availability, designed for the modern fan.”
This experiment could be an important one for the NFL. The game will still be broadcast in the Buffalo and Jacksonville markets, but the league has never gone outside of its television partners to broadcast a game.
"The NFL has always been committed to being at the forefront of media innovation. Through this partnership with Yahoo – one of the world’s most recognizable digital brands – we are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
When the NFL decided in March that the Bills-Jaguars game would be streamed worldwide on a digital platform, it was a bold move. The NFL's rise in popularity and its immense profits can be tied to its history with television. But with the world moving toward watching shows and events on tablets and smartphones, it makes sense for the NFL to start to move in that direction too. It will be interesting to see where this experiment leads in terms of the NFL's broadcasting strategy.
The game itself is between two teams trying to make it back to the playoffs for the first time in years. The Bills have the longest playoff drought in the NFL, dating to the 1999 season, but are coming off a promising 9-7 season and have a new coach in Rex Ryan and a huge addition in running back LeSean McCoy. The Jaguars are trying to turn a corner after seven straight seasons without a playoff appearance, and second-year quarterback Blake Bortles is the centerpiece of their rebuilding effort.
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