NFL Ups Streaming Game, Including to College Dorms

Distributors of National Football League games will look to score with viewers online as more live games will be available to fans on mobile devices during the upcoming season.

As the NFL continues to play on the online field, college kids will be able to watch every NFL game from the comfort of their dorm rooms through an expanded OTT version of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, while CBS Sports will stream more national NFL on CBS games this season — including Super Bowl 50 in February.

Last week, Verizon Wireless said it will continue to offer to its subscribers exclusive live streaming of Sunday local NFL games as well as Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football telecasts via the telco’s NFL Mobile service.

ESPN has already offered its Monday Night Football telecasts online via its Watch ESPN authenticated TV Everywhere service. The league, via its own NFL app, will also stream all 16 Thursday night games from CBS and NFL Network to authenticated cable subscribers.

DirecTV, which since the late 2000s has offered streaming options to subscribers of its exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market games, this year will offer students at accredited colleges the opportunity to order the package for $99, Alex Kaplan, senior vice president of marketing for DirecTV, told Multichannel News.

The service — which allows select consumers unable to secure a satellite dish on multi-unit dwellings to watch NFL games on computers, tablets, smartphones, and Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 gaming consoles — expands the satellite service’s offer of the streaming package from just 10 colleges last year. Kaplan said the company was pleased with the number of consumers signing up for the package last year, but would not disclose specific numbers.

“We’re really excited about opening up the games to an audience that historically hasn’t had a chance to experience what’s so great about Sunday Ticket,” Kaplan said.

In addition to Super Bowl 50, CBS last week said it will stream two 2015-16 regular-season games and four playoff games to consumers without requiring authentication of a pay TV subscription. The first game to be streamed will be the Oct. 4 New York Jets-Miami Dolphins game from London. CBS will also stream the Thanksgiving Day contest between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys.

“We’re very excited to offer more NFL on CBS streaming coverage across more digital platforms than ever before,” Jeffrey Gerttula, senior vice president and general manager of CBS Sports Digital, said in a statement. “All NFL fans will have access through their computers, tablets and now connected TVs to two regular-season games for the first time in addition to all of the AFC playoff action, culminating with a truly historic Super Bowl.”

While more NFL games are available online, DirecTV’s Kaplan said watching the game on a big-screen TV is still preferable to many football fans.

“People consume content differently, and we want to make sure we’re delivering it to them in a way that they most want to consume it,” Kaplan said. “At the same time, regardless of your age, there’s nothing like watching football on a Sunday afternoon on a larger screen, and we’re not going to move away from that.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.