NFL Key to Broader Transition to Live Sports Streaming

    • The NFL took in over $100 billion in its latest round of broadcast deals, partly because it is critical to the broad transition to streaming.
    • Legacy broadcasters are using live sports to entice fans onto their streaming networks.

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Streaming is swiftly overtaking traditional television networks with help from major brands like the NFL, and now the old guard is scrambling to pivot.

The latest round of NFL media deals had the traditional players, but also included their streaming platforms, namely ViacomCBS’s Paramount+, NBC’s Peacock, Disney’s ESPN+, Amazon Prime Video, and Fox’s lesser-known Tubi.

  • Legacy broadcasters like ViacomCBS are seeking to use live sports, especially the NFL, to entice users onto their streaming platforms.
  • Tubi, which said it had 25 million monthly active users in December, will offer both Fox Sports broadcasts and game recaps.

A related balancing act is how each will mix advertising and subscription revenue in their streaming services.

Tubi is free and entirely ad-supported. Paramount+ has an ad-supported tier for $4.99 a month and an ad-free one at $9.99 which includes additional sports and other content. Peacock, which had 33 million subscribers at the end of 2020, was one of the first streaming networks to incorporate ads but initially limited them to five minutes an hour.

Amazon has the unique ability to retarget customers who saw ads during a game with a display ad for the same product. The tech giant is also leveraging its exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” for a merchandising deal with the NFL.