RealTime IT News

NFL, NBC to Stream Complete Games Online

Sunday Night Football
NBC's "Sunday Night Football" crew (clockwise from top left): Jerome Bettis, Tiki Barber, Al Michaels and John Madden
Source: Reuters

NBC and the NFL will stream online the complete "Sunday Night Football" season, the first time an entire NFL game has ever been available on the Web in the United States.

"Sunday Night Football Extra," as it's being called, will offer the Al Michaels/John Madden audio stream as well as additional camera angles, the ability to watch multiple video streams and in-game highlights. It will begin with the Thursday night opening night, which will be televised on NBC.

The companies are keeping close to the vest on the financial aspects of the deal, which is a revenue share. But both the NFL and NBC hope that the addition of Web viewers will be incremental and not slice off a segment of the TV viewership. It's a one-year deal.

"We're trying to do things that are not available by watching broadcast television," said Brian Rolapp, vice president of media strategy at the NFL. He thinks that the viewership will be incremental.

It's the next step of initial forays into new media by the NFL. It has offered a subscription package through Yahoo outside the United States that offers the game telecasts via the Web. It has also offered enhanced versions of games for Verizon customers.

It's also unlikely that the NBC-NFL deal will lead to a wholesale streaming of games. Plenty of negotiations would have to be done before that happens, particularly with the other media partners who don't have new media rights to NFL games but are protected from competing against them through the life of the current contract.