Yahoo paid at least $20 million to secure rights to first live streamed regular season NFL game

Shawn Knight

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Yahoo has secured exclusive rights to what’ll be the first regular season NFL game to air live on the web alongside traditional broadcast methods. Sources familiar with the matter claim Marissa Mayer’s company paid at minimum $20 million for the opportunity and that there was at least one other major tech company that made a competitive offer.

Shelling out that much money for a single broadcast may seem outrageous but the deal also gives Yahoo exclusive ad rights for the game. As the first of its kind, there will no doubt be a lot of buzz around the broadcast which could help Yahoo make back its money (and more) via ad sales.

There’s no guarantee that Yahoo will come out ahead, however, as the game features two small-market teams and will air live very early in the morning in those markets.

On October 25, fans from around the world can watch the Buffalo Bills take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Neither team will have the home advantage as the game will be played on a neutral field across the pond in London on a Sunday afternoon (locally).

Unfortunately, fans of either team back in the states will need to set their alarms to catch the contest live as it’ll air at 9:30 am on the east coast and 6:30 am pacific.

The game will be free for all to watch across a variety of devices.

Image via Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

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I am a true Bills fan, not one that only roots for their team when they are winning. I will jump at the chance to watch my team for free and keep my fingers crossed for more opportunities in the future.

- HamGuy


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I'd like to hear the reasoning behind this. I have a feeling Yahoo has some decent strategy we just don't know about. The bills are a popular team in Canada, but because of the time the game is on, it seems like this is more meant to show the rest of the world American football. They could sell advertising in many different countries. Noon in London is 8pm in Japan, so it'll be prime TV time in Asia and almost India (if they care).

With a potential audience to lure advertisers of 500 million viewers they can probably make the money back. It's a decent experiment at any rate.

The NFL may give up a lucrative contract to Yahoo much like Netflix was able to get one on the cheap with movie studios back before they realized streaming was the next big thing. I doubt it though. The NFL is pretty good at being completely unreasonable on just about anything to do with selling their product.

Let's all hope Yahoo can pull this off because streaming sports is the last big hurdle to completely dropping cable for many people.