NFL, Verizon signs a ten-year technology-focused alliance –

The NFL has expanded one of its most lucrative partnerships, signing a ten-year deal with Verizon. The previous agreement, which covered sponsorship, mobile streaming and virtual reality content, was due to expire in 2023. The terms of the agreement were not announced.

Since 2010, Verizon began airing NFL games for customers. As part of its latest deal, announced in 2017, Verizon expanded access to all mobile viewers through its apps, including Yahoo Sports. Back then, mobile streaming was the most relevant element of the offering for most fans. “We are committed to fans to make Verizon’s family of multimedia properties become the mobile destination for live sports,” Verizon President and CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement in 2017.

But since then, Verizon has boosted its strategy, dropping many of its media assets, including Yahoo and AOL, in a $ 5 billion sale earlier this year (Verizon held a 10% stake in Yahoo) . The telecommunications giant has put its focus on 5G technology and this has shifted to its relationship with the leagues. Now Verizon has installed 5G service in 25 NFL stadiums and is committed to using technology for everything from improving safety and health to optimizing game day procedures.

“The NFL has embraced innovation for decades to bring fans closer to the game, from instant playback technology to equipping players with microphones,” Verizon CEO and President Hans Vestberg said in a statement Thursday. “As we embark on the next 10 years, our work with the NFL will continue to improve and transform not only the fan experience, but also has the potential to improve player training and overall site operations.” .

In 2019, Verizon became the official NFL “5G innovation partner,” driving interactive, multi-camera mobile viewing options and augmented reality experiences in the NFL app. As part of the new deal, Verizon will be the league’s official 5G network and an official technology partner. Both sides have a look at how faster connectivity could improve both in the stadium and at home experiences. This agreement focuses more on pioneering technology applications than on content.

“As we look to the next decade with our trusted partner, Verizon will help us take advantage of the promise of 5G technology, paving the way for the future of gaming and delivering incredible experiences to millions of NFL fans,” said the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. in a statement.

Last September, Verizon signed an agreement with the NHL to expand its 5G efforts, which followed a similar partnership with NASCAR. But none is as big as the NFL bond, which previously charged an annual fee of $ 500 million, about half of what CBS pays the NFL for television rights. Verizon has also been the presenter sponsor of the Pro Bowl and NFL combination.

The renewal of the deal follows the NFL’s extension of its other media partnerships this year. Starting in 2023, Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, and Fox will collectively pay the NFL $ 8 billion annually until 2033 to broadcast games, and Amazon will become the exclusive Thursday Night Football station for more than $ 1 billion. of dollars annually.

(This story has been updated with details of Verizon’s service in the third paragraph, as well as quotes from Verizon CEO and President Hans Vestberg in the fourth paragraph and a comment from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the sixth paragraph.)

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