Advertisers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the anthem protests.
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter rightfully called out the league for their lack of leadership because it led to millions in lost revenue for the pizza giant.
And yet, despite its failing ratings, the NFL just made an enormous deal.
Across the board, NFL television ratings are down and stadium attendance is an embarrassment.
But somehow the NFL managed to score a reported $2 billion dollar deal with Verizon who wants U.S. multiplatform streaming rights for the entire NFL schedule.
“Verizon will no longer be the exclusive U.S. mobile carrier for NFL games — instead, the telco is gaining rights to live-stream gridiron action to any mobile, web and connected-TV device nationwide under a new five-year pact with the league.
Verizon will pay the NFL more than $2 billion under the new deal, the Wall Street Journal reported; Reuters pegged it at around $2.25 billion over the five-year period, citing an anonymous source. The renewed and expanded pact will run through the 2022-23 season. Under the prior deal, Verizon has paid around $250 million per year ($1 billion total over the four-year span).
The new Verizon-NFL deal covers all in-market and national games, including preseason, regular season, and playoff games — including the Super Bowl — available to anyone in the U.S., on any mobile carrier or network provider. The package includes live-streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football games, and the Sunday day games that air on TV in viewers’ local market.
Verizon’s rights extend to mobile phones across all carriers and across Oath properties, including Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, AOL, and Go90. According to the company, its mobile and digital properties reach more than 200 million monthly unique users in the U.S. The new NFL deal also grants Verizon rights to sell select in-game ad inventory on its platforms.
Essentially, Verizon is getting U.S. multiplatform live-streaming rights to the entire NFL schedule — with the exception of Sunday afternoon out-of-market games. Those remain with AT&T’s DirecTV, which has locked up the NFL Sunday Ticket package through the end of the 2022-23 season.
“We’re making a commitment to fans for Verizon’s family of media properties to become the mobile destination for live sports,” Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, said in a statement. “The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it.”
TV broadcast rights, however, are still where the NFL makes its mint. The league rakes in an estimated $7 billion per year from TV deals, including with CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, representing about half its overall revenue.
The full extent of the new Verizon-NFL deal won’t go into effect until the 2018-19 season, but certain elements will roll out this postseason. Specifically, NFL postseason games will be available on Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, and Go90 (along with the NFL Mobile app) beginning no later than the conference championships on Jan. 21.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in a statement, praised Verizon as a partner and emphasized that the deal will extend the league’s games to any mobile device “regardless of carrier.” Verizon has carried NFL games on mobile since 2010.”
How does this make any sense? Ratings are down, period. Ratings are not getting better, they are consistently getting worse. Fans are not watching the games anywhere.
Does Verizon really think the league will suddenly bounce back under the current situation?
So long as players are allowed to continue protesting the national anthem, ratings will continue to plummet.
Which won’t just be bad news for the NFL, but for Verizon too.