The National Football League is launching a new mobile-media platform, NFL Now, a video service for news analysis and highlights available for free on any screen with a focus on mobile. The channel, whose initial sponsors are Verizon, Microsoft, Yahoo and Gillette, is designed to be personalized for fans. It also has a "vault" of on-demand NFL video content and lets viewers customize the app-based interface for favorite teams, players, and news.
The channel, for iOS, Android and Windows, is being delivered in the U.S. through NFL Mobile and Verizon. "Advertisers are dying to put the brand in front of consumers, and teams are excited about it," said Brian Rolapp, EVP of media at NFL.
He said the content play addresses the fact that consumers want content all the time, not just on game day. "Sixty percent of consumption doesn't come on game day; it's Tuesday through Saturday. It's year round. The appetite for news and information and content is borderline insatiable." He said that the league saw a 33% increase in the number of fans watching digital video and of that, 152% growth comes from mobile. "It's a high-quality HD video network," he said, adding that the platform allows seamless content between devices.
While Verizon, Microsoft, Yahoo and Gillette are launch partners, Verizon will be presenting sponsor of NFL Now and distribution partner via LTE Multicast. Microsoft will distribute on Xbox One.
Chris Halpin, VP media strategy and business development, said a Verizon NFL joint application allows for live games and Verizon. "Gillette is a longstanding partner of the NFL, and they will use the platform to reach consumers globally," he said. Microsoft, he said, will also make it available through Xbox 360 and Surface. He said that Yahoo is also a distribution partner via screen app and Yahoo's sports sites.
Finally, per Halpin, the NFL itself will air two TV spots during the Super Bowl to tout the program.