The NFL is making additional moves to reach more fans with direct-to-consumer offerings.
The league announced on Thursday that NFL Network and NFL RedZone will be available on “NFL+,” the streaming service the league launched last year.
Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s Chief Media and Business Officer, said offering both channels direct to consumer is something that has been in the league plans for awhile.
“We had always felt that what we do at NFL Network and given the changing landscape, we wanted to be able to offer it digitally,” he said. “Last year was an important step in doing that in launching NFL+. When it exceeded our expectations, we knew we had a base to work off of and allowed us to prepare what we needed to do. And we’re fortunate that’s coming together this year.”
According to Nielsen’s cable estimates, NFL Network is available to 51.1 million customers, which is the most for a network run by a professional league or college conference. NFL RedZone has also gained increased distribution the past couple of years as the league has renewed its carriage agreements with cable, satellite and streaming providers.
“I think every media company is trying to figure out where pay TV is. Clearly a decline, but it still has a fair amount of households who find the product has value,” Rolapp said. “But also digital is growing. And so our feeling was we know it’s going to be a world for some time where there’s both. We just want to make sure that we have a way to serve fans with this content anywhere they choose to get it.”
The league took a major step into streaming last year with the “Thursday Night Football” package carried exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. The “Sunday Ticket” package of out-of-market Sunday games moves to Google’s YouTube TV this year after it had been on DirecTV since 1994.
“NFL+” also allows fans to view out-of-market preseason games on all devices; local and national regular-season and postseason games on mobile devices; team and national radio feeds, It can be accessed through the NFL app and website.
During the regular season, fans will be able to watch replays of games as well as the coaches film, where all 22 players on the field could be viewed from two different angles.
NFL RedZone will only be available on the premium tier. RedZone host Scott Hanson, who has been with the channel since it started in 2009, also likes that it will be available to more fans.
“This is very likely the future way that people will consume NFL RedZone and perhaps the NFL at large. And this is the first chance to do it,” he said.