It’s official. After months of reports, the NFL announced its direct-to-consumer streaming service NFL+ on Monday morning.
There will be two price points offered to consumers as the league attempts to build its own subscription service. NFL+ is now available on the NFL App and NFL.com as well as all app stores:
- The basic NFL+ package will cost $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year. It will include: live local and primetime games on mobile and tablet devices; live out-of-market preseason games; live game audio for every game of the season; and on-demand, ad-free access to NFL library programming.
- Fans can also upgrade to NFL+ Premium for $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year. This product comes with all the features of NFL, plus full and condensed game replays and the All-22 Coaches Film.
- With the launch of the NFL, the former NFL Game Pass will be discontinued in the U.S. That product previously cost $9.99 a month or $99 a year.
All the sport and entertainment giants want to reach consumers directly with streaming offerings. Even though it built its popularity through free over-the-air broadcast TV, the NFL is no different.
As Commissioner Roger Goodell noted in a statement, the new streaming service will offer fans “a tremendous amount of NFL content, including the most valuable content in the media industry: live NFL games.”
Front Office Sports sat down with Gil Moran, the NFL’s vice president of business strategy and operations, to discuss NFL+. Excerpts:
FOS: Tell us the league’s strategy with NFL+?
Gil Moran: From an overarching perspective, we’ve had a direct-to-consumer business for the last several years. And we consider it a relatively successful one with Game Pass. I think the strategy for us was: What’s the next evolution of that? How do we continue to serve our fans in the way they want to be served? How do we find the most engaging product possible? Out of that was born NFL+. It includes the mobile live game rights, it includes the game replays, it includes the out-of-market preseason games.
We looked at all the different assets that we had and said, What is the right way to package this? And how do we think fans would like to consume this? So the strategy was to really make a compelling offering, to make an offering that we can invest in, to make an offering that we can grow for fans, with the fans. Ultimately, that’s what’s driving this.
Obviously, everybody’s headed into the direct-to-consumer space. The ability to talk to fans one-on-one and understand from the data how to better serve them. That all comes into play. But I think front and center for it, was the ability to enhance that fan experience.
How did you determine the pricing?
That’s a good question. The pricing is something we’ve gone back and forth with a lot over the last couple of years. I think ultimately what we wanted to do with that base tier product of $4.99 a month was to make sure we are as competitive as possible and that the fan is going to feel like he or she is getting the right value for the price that they’re paying. If you look at everything else that’s out in the market, and certainly all the things that have launched in the last 2-3 years, a lot of those are hovering around that $5, $6, $7.99 a month.
We wanted to make sure we were competitive in that sphere. Not just looking at sports or live sports. But looking at the whole consumer dynamic of: What are you subscribing to? How much are you paying? When do you subscribe? When do you turn it on?
All those things came into play. Ultimately we settled on the $4.99 as we thought that was the most compelling, and the most valuable, to fans.
What will consumers get for $4.99 that they were not getting already?
I think you’re asking about the fact that a lot of the mobile live games in the NFL app were free this past season and for the past three seasons prior to that. I would say that what we’re doing is again looking at our asset base as a whole. We had mobile live games here. We also had live game audio. We had preseason games. We had game replays right after the game ended for all windows. That was sitting in our $100 Game Pass product. We said: Is there a way in this environment where direct-to-consumer is growing, and fans are looking for more high-value, compelling content, is there a way to take everything we have and reset it?
So part of what we did is we borrowed from the free product. And a lot of what we did is we borrowed from the premium product. So a lot of the things that you’re getting in the $4.99 product, and some in the $9.99 product, you were getting for a much higher price last year. So we tried to calibrate and balance the free and paid and roll it into that $4.99 again.
Hopefully, it will be a competitive and valuable product.