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NFL seals lucrative extension to Verizon partnership

US telecommunications company Verizon has sealed a multi-year extension to its partnership with the NFL through which it will remain a rights partner and sponsor of the American football league.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but ESPN.com said Verizon will pay approximately $2.5bn (€2.16bn) for a five-year deal.

The NFL agreed a four-year extension, from 2014-15 to 2017-18, to its partnership with Verizon in June 2013. The deal was said to be worth a total of $1bn and expanded Verizon’s existing sponsorship and content deal to include enhanced live streaming rights to NFL games from the 2014 season.

Under the new contract, Verizon’s portfolio of digital and mobile media properties, including Yahoo Sports, will stream in-market and national games in the US, including national pre-season, regular season, playoff games, and the Super Bowl – regardless of mobile network. The partnership kicks off in January with streaming of the NFL playoffs on Yahoo and Yahoo Sports, in addition to go90 and the NFL mobile app.

In addition to the expanded availability of live games, the new agreement will provide fans mobile access to NFL highlights, coverage of NFL throughout the week and year, and jointly-developed original content.

Verizon will continue to be an official sponsor of the NFL and offer unique experiences for customers enrolled in the Verizon Up rewards program at key events including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and the NFL Draft. The partnership also involves work with individual NFL teams on Smart Stadium technology to help improve stadium operations.

“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 chief executive of Verizon, said. 

“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. We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.”

The previous deal only allowed Verizon to have exclusive streaming rights for in-market live games on mobile phones. The new contract will make live in-market games available on the Verizon platforms on phones of all carriers starting this postseason, before expanding to include all tablets in 2018.